It was recently reported that the Donald Trump Administration plans to limit the focus of the Countering Violent Extremism anti-terror program. Instead of fighting all violent belief systems, the program would instead devote itself solely to combating radicals who are Muslims and list only “Islamic Terrorism” in its name. This betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of the domestic terror threats facing our country.
CVE launched under President Obama. Through it, the Department of Homeland Security administers federal grants to nongovernmental organizations and higher-education institutions to carry out programs that counter the potential for violence from “domestic terrorists and homegrown violent extremists.”
From their inception, CVE initiatives have come under fire for unfairly singling out the American Muslim community for special scrutiny, while paying mere lip service to other, equally dangerous threats. Changing the name and the mandate of the CVE program would exacerbate the problem of how little scrutiny right-wing and left-wing extremists receive and amplify the false belief that Islamic extremists are responsible for more violence than other types of domestic terrorists.
Not everyone opposes a CVE name-change: White supremacists are rejoicing online because, as they see it, the government is signaling that they are now free from scrutiny. As someone posted to the white supremacist site Stormfront: “Oh my goodness. Is this for real. Amazing my government no longer targets me as the enemy.”