Sorry, No More Chances for CVE

In a July 18 Letter to the Editor published in Just Security, the Charity & Security Network outlines the many problems with domestic countering violent extremism (CVE) programs to date. The letter explains that among the wide array of CVE detractors, not all oppose CVE for the same reasons. C&SN believes that domestic CVE programs have been irrevocably tainted by their relationship with law enforcement, which has primarily targeted Muslim communities with surveillance, entrapment and prosecution rather than rehabilitation, at the expense of civil liberties. While CVE has focused largely on individuals deemed "radicalized" or espousing "extremist" views without evidence of violence, the letter notes, "there is wide agreement among academics that there is no credible way to predict who will become a terrorist. Without such data, it's possible that these practices may have even backfired, and could have contributed to turning some young people towards violent extremism." 

Read the letter

Brennan Center Report Examines CVE in the Trump Era

May 11, 2017

Although Trump's hostility towards Muslims has been well-documented in the press, countering violent extremism programs initiated during the Obama administration, while couched in neutral terms, set the stage for a focus xclusively on Muslims. 

This, despite the fact that empirical data show that violence from far right movements results in at least as many fatalities in the U.S. as attacks inspried by al Qaeda or the Islamic State, notes a March 2017 report from the Brennan Center for Justice, Countering Violent Extremism. In addition to stigmatizing Muslim communities as inherently suspect, it also creates serious risks of flagging innocuous activity as pre-terrorism and suppressing religious observance and speech, the report explains. "These flaws are only exacerbated when CVE programs are run by an administration that is overtly hostile towards Muslims, and that includes within its highest ranks individuals known for their frequent and public denunciations of a faith that is practiced by 1.6 billion people around the world," the report states. 

The report asserts that future CVE programs are unlikely to achieve security benefits, and meanwhile carry the risk of "damaging critical relationships between law enforcement and Muslim communities, further undermining the goal of preventing terrorism." As such, the report recommends a shift towards a framework that sees American Muslims as a source of strength rather than suspicion. 

Read the full report

C&SN Joins 80 Organizations to Speak Out for Muslim Civil Society

Charity & Security Network has joined 80 other organizations in a statement expressing concern about the potential harm to Muslim civil society if the Muslim Brotherhood is designated as a terrorist organization. 

The statement, signed by civil, human rights and faith-based groups, warns that such a designation could "lead to the stigmatization and targeting of American Muslim civil society, including non-profits, charities, religious organizations, and activists." The statement notes that numerous scholars and national security and foreign policy experts from across the political spectrum have voiced concern regarding the validity of such a designation. A designation, the statement continues, would continue the current smear campaigns again prominent American Muslims and organizations using "six degrees of separation" accusations. 

Read the full statement

USAID & State Release First Joint Strategy on CVE

June 8, 2016

Because the Department of State (State) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) provide different viewpoints, tools, and expertise, the two agencies determined that a joint strategy utilizing the diverse strengths of both bodies is the United States’ best option for preventing and countering the spread of violent extremism (CVE). That strategy, released May 28, outlines the agencies’ plans for CVE moving forward, and will be updated every two years.

Policy Brief: Can Development Initiatives and CVE Be Combined Effectively?

May 17, 2016

A February 2016 policy brief from the Global Center on Cooperative Security, Countering Violent Extremism and Development Assistance: Identifying Synergies, Obstacles, and Opportunities, indicates that there may be significant benefit to be obtained from cooperation and coordination of security and development initiatives, but notes that efforts to do so may not be without challenges.