Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Program targeting violent extremism collapsing after team Trump retools it into anti-Muslim effort

Rss@dailykos.com (hunter) · Sunday, February 12, 2017, 4:58 pm

We learned at the beginning of the month that, at the behest of Donald Trump's white nationalist advisers, the Trump administration plans to refocus a U.S. government program that seeks to curb violent extremists so that it exclusively targets Muslim individuals—stripping it from its current role of also preventing, for example, violence by white nationalists. This would appear to be in keeping with the Trump notion that the only violence of significance in the world is that conducted by Muslims; a white nationalist entering a Canadian mosque or a South Carolina church to murder non-whites remains, to the Trump presidency, invisible crimes.

The news was greeted with appropriate contempt within the Muslim community, and it's looking like the Trump team may have inadvertently caused the slow collapse of the whole damn program.

The program, CVE, is a grant program. It offers funds to community groups that work to delegitimize extremism, rehabilitate those extremists, and otherwise act as foil to extremist groups. After hearing that the program will be retooled into a vehicle for the Trump team's own anti-Muslim bigotries, however, would-be receivers of those grants are already bowing out rather than be associated with the tainted program. Bayan Claremont, an Islamic school in California, was due to receive $800,000 from the program—over half the school's yearly budget. But the school's president says they just can't stomach being associated with the effort.

It's "a heck of a lot of money, (but) our mission and our vision is to serve the community and to bring our community to a position of excellence," Turk said. "And if we're compromised, even if only by perception in terms of our standing in the community, we ultimately can't achieve that goal," he said, adding that accepting the funds would be short-sighted.

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