The Council on American-Islamic Relations is warning against a proposed new online effort by the FBI’s Countering Violent Extremism program which would encourage teachers to identify Muslims that might secretly harbor “extremist” views. Based on past experience with similar programs, CAIR raised legitimate concerns about the effect on minority students in a statement today:
CAIR said the program, which was slated to go live today but may have been delayed, is reported to use digital puppets to aid teachers and students in identifying potential violent extremists. According to The New York Times, attendees at the FBI’s preview of the program noted that it appears to continue the government’s pattern of stigmatizing the Muslim community through its CVE initiative and fails to deal with the main threat to students, that of school shootings.
“The FBI’s job is to protect children of all faiths and backgrounds, not to offer programs that introduce suspicion into their relations with teachers and can lead to stigmatization and bullying by their peers,” said CAIR Department to Monitor and Combat Islamophobia Director Corey Saylor.
Jaylani Hussein, director of CAIR-MN, recently joined a panel on ‘Countering Violent Extremism’ (CVE) in D.C.
In August, Shadowproof published Laura Muth’s investigation into a Boston-based CVE pilot program. Local advocates were sharply critical of the program’s effectiveness and negative effects on the Muslim community:
Shannon Erwin is co-founder of the Muslim Justice League (MJL), a Boston organization which provides legal representation to Muslims who have been approached by the FBI. Erwin is concerned that the program plays upon pre-existing prejudices.
“This is already intensifying the false ‘good Muslim, bad Muslim’ dichotomy and creating divisions within our community,” she said.