Conservative Review, by Nate Madden, September 22, 2016:
The United States should ditch its current efforts at “countering violent extremism” and focus instead on “countering violent Islamism” (CVE), a prominent Muslim reformist told Congress on Thursday.
“Our current direction and lack of deeply flawed and profoundly dangerous for the security of our nation,” Dr. Zhudi Jasser, president of the American Islamic forum for Democracy, said at a House Homeland Security Subcommittee hearing Thursday. “As a devout Muslim who loves my faith, and loves my nation, the de-emphasis of “radical Islam” and the “Islamist” root cause of global Islamist terrorism is the greatest obstacle to both national harmony and national security.”
Jasser went on to say that until America can “name this, and once we can name it, treat it and then counter it,” its national security efforts will remain channeled through a “Whac-a-Mole program” that focuses on tactics, rather than ideology.
A report issued earlier this year from a DC-based counterterrorism consulting firm found the Obama administration’s CVE programs to be a “catastrophic failure” due to its inefficacy, poor management, and, most of all, because of the administration’s engagementwith organizations that have known extremist affiliations, like the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Islamic Society of North America.
Both organizations were unindicted co-conspirators in the 2007 Holy Land Foundation case; trusting such organizations to counter jihadism is akin to “treating arsonists like firefighters,” Jasser said.
While these groups may not be intrinsically extremist in their messaging, Dr. Jasser said, they “are distributing literature that glorifies political Islam, that glorifies sharia state ideology […] that ultimately ends up causing the harms that radicalize our community.”
Not only does government engagement with these organizations further empower the global jihad movement and “leaves us bare against the threat of radical Islamism,” Jasser added, it also “renders our greatest allies within the Muslim community — genuine reformers — entirely impotent and marginalized.”
Throughout the rest of his prepared testimony, Jasser also suggested that Congress reopen investigations into CAIR’s extremist ties, calling the group “one of the most obvious beneficiaries of this embrace of Islamist groups.” He also recommended that the administration stop all engagement with groups that have ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and “recognize their misogynist, anti-Semitic, homophobic, and anti-American ideological underpinnings.”
Also on the panel was Shireen Qudosi, a senior contributor at CounterJihad.com, who pointed out to members the difference between Islam and Islamism, and that the latter “is a political ideology that must be studied, understood, and defeated.”
Qudosi went on to attack the “Islamophobe” labelling of anyone who criticizes Muslims, saying that the accusation “moves Islam from a religion into a racial or biological context,” rather than approaching it as a belief system.
“Islam is a religion,” she added, one that should be challenged intellectually without fear of automatically being labeled an Islamophobe or racist for doing so. “It is an idea, a set of concepts and beliefs. As such, ideas, concepts, and beliefs do not have human rights; individuals do.”
“The best way to tackle ISIS, beyond Whac-a-Mole CVE systems, is to tackle their political ideology,” said Qudosi.
During an earlier panel in the hearing, George Selim, Department of Homeland Security Office of Community Partnerships director, told the subcommittee that the current CVE program under his direction isn’t even being guided by a complete, strategic plan, according to a report at the Washington Examiner. After being repeatedly hounded by committee members, Selim admitted that a strategic plan for a $10 million endeavor was “nearly ready,” and that he could only point to “anecdotal” evidence that the program had actually countered some violent extremism.
“I can’t sit here before you today and definitively say that person was going to commit an act of terrorism … but we’re developing that prevention framework in a range of cities across the country,” Selim confessed under oath.
Pete Hoekstra: Obama’s Embrace of US Muslim Brotherhood Groups Damages American Foreign Policy:
Texts of all witness testimonies can be found here
- Egypt’s President: We Should Use ‘Islamic Extremism’ As a Term, ‘We Must Correct The Islamic Rhetoric’ (breitbart.com)
”Countering Violent Extremism“ 101: A Program Collapsing Into Absurdity (pdf) (unconstrainedanalytics.org)
- @ShidelerK running commentary on the hearing