Trump administration to focus exclusively on Islamic terrorism
President Donald Trump's administration is looking to focus counter-terrorism efforts not on "neo-Nazis" or "white supremacists" but exclusively on Islamic terrorism.
Published: February 3, 2017, 9:40 am
Last Thursday senior staff members from the Department of Homeland Security were asked to defend their choice of community organisations as recipients of counter-terrorism grants.
DHS Secretary John Kelly, is reviewing counter-terrorism funding that has been appropriated by Congress, and even though grant recipients were notified in the final days of the Obama administration of a positive response, they may never obtain their funding.
In 2016, Congress appropriated $10 million in grants for CVE efforts mainly focused on pro-Muslim groups and anti-nationalist efforts. The DHS awarded the first grants a week before Trump was inaugurated.
One group, Life After Hate, received money to combat “neo-Nazis” and white “domestic extremists”.
A week before Obama left the White House, a $400,000 grant was signed over to the organisation whose leader has called for President Trump to be overthrown. The co-founder and chairman of the group is Christian Picciolini has implied on social media that Trump is a Nazi and called for his overthrow.
Insider sources told Reuters the proposed changes in the Countering Violent Extremism (DVE) initiative include renaming it as “Countering Islamic Extremism” or “Countering Radical Islamic Extremism”.
Those familiar with the issue were told last week by a DHS official that a name change has been decided.
Trump criticised Barack Obama for his weak response to several attacks carried out by the Islamic State. Obama refused to use the phrase “radical Islam” after ISIS claimed responsibility for attacks on civilians in several countries, including the United States for shootings and bombings in California, Florida and New York.
The Department of Homeland Security alludes to so-called “domestic terrorists and homegrown violent extremists in the United States” on their website to include what they deem to be a white nationalist danger.
Terrorism is defined in the US Code of Federal Regulations as “the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives”.
The current definition, used by the FBI and other American agencies, focus on manifestations of anti-Semitism and neo-Nazism, not banned in the US.
One of five people briefed on the matter told Reuters that the Trump transition team members first met with a CVE task force in December to discuss changing the name and focus.
Pro-Muslim groups maintain that the term “radical Islam” could alienate the more than three million Americans who practice Islam peacefully.
The leftist Rand Corporation tweeted: “Equating violent extremism exclusively with Islamist #terrorism misses opportunities to solve the problem [of white nationalism].”
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