The Greater Los Angeles office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) today announced that the member organizations of the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California and the Muslim Student Association of the West Coast (MSA West) voted to oppose the narrow scope of the federal government's new Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) program.
On February 21, members of the Shura council voted in favor of a motion to oppose the CVE initiative based on the position and concerns outlined in the recent statement by the US Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO).
Expressing concern that the current government-led program targets and furthers stereotypes Muslims, MSA West released a statement against the CVE initiative, with 27 Muslim Student Associations of West Coast universities as signatories. The statement, titled "Muslim Student Associations Across CA Against Federal Government's Countering Violent Extremist Programs," read in part:
"As leaders of our MSAs, and advocates for social equity and protection of civil liberties for all Americans, we firmly stand in opposition to the Countering Violent Extremism programs to ensure that our American Muslim community is not mistreated and that our youth are able to live their lives free from fear of surveillance, racial and religious profiling, and as strong, active members of their communities."
"We note the consensus of Muslim institutions and Muslim student leaders across the state in expressing concerns about the narrow scope of the federal government CVE program," said CAIR-LA Executive Director Hussam Ayloush. "The best approach to accomplish the goals of any countering violent extremism program is to build trust and treat the community as a partner, not as a collection of potential suspects."
Ayloush said that CAIR-LA, along with other local organizations serving American Muslim communities, previously issued a statement outlining their grave concerns about the proposed CVE program.
Many Muslim organizations are concerned that countering extremism programs that only focus on Muslim communities ignore the real threat of extremists in other communities while increasing negative public sentiment toward American Muslims as a whole.
Ayloush noted that CAIR recently issued a brief on the White House's CVE initiative outlining community concerns about the program.