RECOMMENDED READING: “Fighting the Ideological Battle, The Missing Link in U.S. Strategy to Counter Violent Extremism”


The Washington Institute has published a new report titled “Fighting the Ideological Battle, The Missing Link in U.S. Strategy to Counter Violent Extremism” which recommends that the US move beyond countering violent extremism to preventing and deterring the spread of the Islamist ideology that his behind the violence. From the introduction to the report:

At the same time, the administration remains uncomfortable with the core strategic recommendation of the task force report: that it go beyond countering violent extremism (CVE) to prevent and deter the spread of the ideology that nurtures and supports said violent extremism—radical Islamist extremism. Members of the administration articulate a number of ratio- nales for this approach, many of which merit attention and discussion. In particular, administration officials have expressed concern about employing language that could be interpreted as an attack on Islam as a religion. However, unless government recognizes and articu- lates clearly the threat posed by the ideology of radical Islamist extremism, its broader whole-of-government efforts will lack strategic focus and will fail to address the varied root causes of domestic and foreign radicalization. It is indeed possible to do this without deni- grating the Islamic religion in any way.

Although the report neglects to identify or even mention the role of the Global Muslim Brotherhood in the spread of said ideology, it does make some recommendations relevant in this regard:

2.11 treat Muslim americans as full-fledged partners on the panoply of issues, foreign and domestic, with which the whole of american society is concerned, not solely on those related to cVe. U.S. governmen- tal interaction with the Muslim American community should be broad-based and reflect the diversity of the community.

2.12 engage not only with the most vocal groups, but also with the most representative. Ensuring maximum diversity in U.S. government outreach— especially at home but abroad as well—is critical. Domestically, this applies not only to determining which groups are invited to attend government functions and host major addresses by senior officials, but also to the organizations that train and certify chaplains in U.S. prisons and in the armed forces. Some prominent Muslim American groups have question- able links to banned groups that should disqualify them as trusted government partners in the effort to combat extremism. Others, perhaps less vocal and often active at a more local level, warrant greater insti- tutional recognition and support.

Presumably, the “prominent Muslim American groups” in question are those comprising the US Muslim Brotherhood including the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) , the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), and the Muslim American Society (MAS) among others.

Read the full report here.

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