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Trump May Repurpose Counter-Extremism Program to Focus Solely on Islamic Extremism

The program would ignore right wing extremists, who pose a greater threat.

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The Trump administration is planning to re-focus a government counter-extremism program to only deal with Islamic extremism, according to government sources.  The Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) program would be renamed either “Countering Islamic Extremism” or “Countering Radical Islamic Extremism.” As the name change signifies, the program would be altered to only focus on Islamic extremists, and would ignore the very real dangers of right wing and other domestic extremists.

In its current state, the CVE program works with community partnerships, educational programs, and counter-messaging campaigns designed to deter lone attackers or groups of extremists. The program is supposed to provide $10 million in grants this year to local governments, city police, universities, and non-profit organizations like Life After Hate, which rehabilitates former members of hate groups. The Department of Homeland Security is reviewing these grants, however, and may decide not to provide the money promised to these groups.

Critics of the change believe that branding the council as combatting “radical Islam” would further alienate millions of peaceful Muslim-Americans who have already been marginalized by Trump's recent immigration ban. Hoda Hawa, director of policy for the Muslim Public Affairs Council, said that the change is “concerning for us because they are targeting a faith group and casting it under a net of suspicion.”

Ignoring the issue of rightwing domestic terrorism also poses a risk to the American people, considering that a Department of Homeland Security report has concluded that “lone wolves and small terrorist cells embracing violent right-wing extremist ideology are the most dangerous domestic terrorism threat in the United States.”