The US-based Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) has issued a “Brief on countering violent extremism with recommendations for U.S. Government” that opposes the very notion of a countering violent extremism program (CVE) as a waste of public resources. The brief begins:
February 2015 CAIR believes government-led CVE is not an effective use of public resources. Al-Qaeda, ISIS and their ideological allies kill more Muslims1 than people of any other faith. At the sametime, violent extremist recruiters troll the internet seeking to conscript Americans to their mindset.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) strongly supports law enforcement and the protectionof our national security. CAIR is a natural enemy of violent extremists. Our positive track record ofsuccess fully discredits their arguments that minorities cannot receive fair treatment in our nation.
While we are united with the government in our desire to protect our nation’s security and liberties, weare not convinced that government-led Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) programs, such as theinitiative announced in September 2014, are the most effective use of public resources.
CAIR is deeply concerned that former government officials have described both the Bush and Obamaadministration’s CVE programming as “ham-handed, understaffed and underfunded” efforts that onlyreceive attention from senior officials “in the wake of highly publicized terrorist incidents” according toa September 2014 article in Politico. That article quotes former State Department Official Will McCantssaying, “[CVE] was always a box checking activity.”
Read the rest here.
The document’s third conclusion is quite remarkable in that it seeks a broad immunity for organizations such as CAIR should they “engage in good faith” with those considering violent acts.
The Department of Justice should issue guidelines, similar to Good Samaritan laws, to protect those who act in good faith to prevent violent extremism by engaging with those considering it in order to dissuade them. DOJ policies should make clear that those who intervene to help others should not suffer for it by being subjected to prosecution, watchlisting, or surveillance because of their association with a potential violent extremist.
The GMBDW is unaware of any precdents in this area.
The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) describes itself as “a grassroots civil rights and advocacy group and as “America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group” and has opposed almost every counterterrorism initiative proposed by the US government. CAIR was founded in 1994 by three officers of the Islamic Association of Palestine, part of the U.S. Hamas infrastructure at that time. Documents discovered in the course of the the terrorism trial of the Holy Land Foundation confirmed that the founders and current leaders of CAIR were part of the Palestine Committee of the Muslim Brotherhood and that CAIR itself is part of the US. Muslim Brotherhood. In 2008, the then Deputy leader of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood acknowledged a relationship between the Egyptian Brotherhood and CAIR. In 2009, a US federal judge ruled “The Government has produced ample evidence to establish the associations of CAIR, ISNA and NAIT with HLF, the Islamic Association for Palestine (“IAP”), and with Hamas.” CAIR and its leaders have had a long history of defending individuals accused of terrorism by the US. government, often labeling such prosecutions a “war on Islam”, and have also been associated with Islamic fundamentalism and antisemitism. The organization is led by Nihad Awad, its longstanding Executive Director and one of the three original founders.