Trump and his cronies are reportedly fundamentally changing the domestic terrorism programs that are a threat to American citizens. Reuters reports that the programs enable religious profiling in regards to Muslims, but remove from the watch lists the dangerous white supremacist extremist groups who are responsible for much violence across the United States.
The program, “Countering Violent Extremism,” or CVE, would be changed to “Countering Islamic Extremism” or “Countering Radical Islamic Extremism,” the sources said, and would no longer target groups such as white supremacists who have also carried out bombings and shootings in the United States.
Just in the past two years, authorities blamed radical and violent ideologies as the motives for a white supremacist’s shooting rampage inside a historic African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina and Islamist militants for shootings and bombings in California, Florida and New York.
A reporter at ThinkProgress tweeted his objections to the plans, noting that eliminating the surveillance of America’s own terrorists such as the KKK, certain far-right “patriot” groups, and neo-Nazi groups, will open the door to the proliferation of these ideas.
Terrorism under the Republican Party’s policies will encourage Islamophobia. Under these policies, the definition of terrorism is only associated with Islam, specifically “radical Islam.”
This, of course, attempts to justify the Muslim ban against peaceful Muslims who have never committed any acts of violence.
The Trump administration has removed the CVE’s previous 5-point counterterrorism strategy page from the State Department’s website, which we recovered via Archive.org. This move to exclude white supremacist and extremist groups from the “terrorism” label will serve to encourage racial discrimination and hate.
Reuters’ report notes that the new policies are extremely disconcerting to Muslims:
Hoda Hawa, director of policy for the Muslim Public Affairs Council, said she was told last week by people within DHS that there was a push to refocus the CVE effort from tackling all violent ideology to only Islamist extremism. “That is concerning for us because they are targeting a faith group and casting it under a net of suspicion,” she said.
Some Republicans in Congress have long assailed the program as politically correct and ineffective, asserting that singling out and using the term “radical Islam” as the trigger for many violent attacks would help focus deterrence efforts. Others counter that branding the problem as “radical Islam” would only serve to alienate more than three million Americans who practice Islam peacefully.
Some proponents of the program fear that rebranding it could make it more difficult for the government to work with Muslims already hesitant to trust the new administration, particularly after Trump issued an executive order last Friday temporarily blocking travel to the United States from seven predominantly Muslim “countries.
Unfortunately, the administration’s refusal to take into consideration the real threats that have been a consistent concern to law enforcement is allowing the real threat groups off the hook. According to the chart below, it is neo-nazis and white supremacists who concern law enforcement much more than “radical Islam.”
Trump supporters do not realize what they have encouraged and enabled the Trump administration to do. Effectively, his policies will unleash some of the most violent racist groups and allow them to recruit and flourish in America.
The unfair and exclusive association of “terrorist” with Islam serves to disenfranchise Muslims, and many will become ripe for recruitment by extremists like ISIS, effectively driving them into extremism.