The Problem with “Countering Violent Extremism” Programs

The federal government’s “Countering Violent Extremism” program stigmatizes American Muslims and cast unwarranted suspicion on innocuous activity. The program calls on law enforcement, social service providers, and members of religious communities to identify individuals who might be susceptible to violence and to implement programs to stop them from committing it. Preventing acts of violence is a laudable goal, but the CVE strategy risks being counterproductive, alienating the very communities it is meant to engage.

What we’ve seen suggests CVE may task community members with monitoring each other and reporting to law enforcement the beliefs and activities of law-abiding Americans. To many, that’s known as spying. It’s hardly conducive to supporting communities and creating a space for differing viewpoints, and it stymies First Amendment-protected beliefs and activity.


Coalition Letter to the White House Re: Federal Support for Countering Violent Extremism Programs (4/22/16)

Coalition Letter to FBI Director Comey Re: “Don’t Be a Puppet” Website (4/5/16)

Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights While Countering Terrorism (3/10/16)

Joint Written Statement Submitted to 31st Session of the Human Rights Council (2/4/16)

Joint Advocacy Letter to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (2/4/16)

Letter to Mayor DeBlasio Expressing Concern about "Countering Violent Extremism" Program (9/21/15)

Coalition Letter Regarding Countering Violent Extremism Act of 2015 (7/10/15)

Coalition Letter to Obama Administration on Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) Program (12/18/14)

ACLU Urges Civil Liberties Agenda at White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism (9/24/14)

Blog posts

What Could Go Wrong With Asking Teachers To Monitor Kids for 'Extremist' Beliefs? (7/20/16)

The FBI Wants Schools to Spy on Their Students' Thoughts (3/11/16)

FBI Borrows From Anti-Muslim Playbook in New Video Game (2/24/16)

Will White House Violent Extremism Program Address Pressing Civil Rights Concerns? (2/17/16)

Why I Have Hope for American Muslim Equality (2/10/16)

A Rally Around Hatred (10/9/15)

Religion-Based Suspicion Masquerading as Counterterrorism Has No Place in America (10/24/15)

Will White House Violent Extremism Summit Address Pressing Civil Rights Concerns? (2/17/15)

The Lone-Wolf Terror Trap: Why the Cure Will Be Worse Than the Disease (2/5/15)

This Secret Domestic Surveillance Program Is About to Get Pulled Out of the Shadows (2/24/15)

Terrorist or...Teenager? (11/13/14)

Countering Violent Extremism: Time for the Administration to Get It Right (9/24/14)


ACLU v. Department of Homeland Security: FOIA Lawsuit Seeking Records on "Countering Violent Extremism" Programs 


Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms While Countering Terrorism (2/22/16)


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