Trump administration to exclusively focus counter-extremism programme on Islam

US President Donald Trump [Credit: REUTERS/L.E. Baskow/]

The newly inaugurated Trump administration has stated that it will refocus the country’s countering-violent extremism programme solely on “radical Islam,” Reuters reports.

The programme “Countering Violent Extremism” (CVE) would be changed to “Countering Islamic Extremism” or “Countering Radical Islamic Extremism,” the sources told Reuters.

CVE would no longer pursue far-right white supremacist groups who have carried out more bombings and murders in the United States.

If the change materialises, it would demonstrate Trump’s pledges and criticism of former President Barack Obama for being weak in the fight against ISIS, and for refusing to use the term “radical Islam”.

The CVE programme is aimed at deterring groups and individual attackers through “community initiatives” and “de-radicalisation programmes” in conjunction with Google and Facebook.

Some supporters of CVE have voiced their concerns that refocusing the programme specifically Islam could make it more difficult for the government to work with many American Muslims who distrust the new administration, especially after Trump issued an executive order last week banning travel to the U.S. from seven Muslim countries.

Nevertheless, the CVE programme which claims to focus on U.S. residents and is separate from a military effort to fight online extremism online, has been criticised by some supporters as ineffective.

A source close to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said Trump’s transition team members first met with a CVE task force last December and proposed the idea of changing the name and focus to “Islamist extremism”.

During a meeting last Thursday, government employees were asked to defend why they chose particular community groups as recipients of CVE funding, the anonymous source told Reuters.

Although CVE funding has been approved by Congress and the grant recipients were informed in the concluding days of the Obama administration, the money still may not go be stopped, the source said, adding that it is currently under review.

The DHS and the White House have not issued a public statement on the matter.

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