Trump is reportedly focusing the Department of Homeland Security's counter-extremism program solely on Islam—despite the fact that violent white supremacists, who were emboldened by his win, pose a demonstrably greater threat to the American people.
Below is what happened on Trump's eighth day in office. You can find out what damage was done every other day so far on the Saddest Calendar on the Internet.
In what feels like ages ago but was actually just last June, Obama and Trump found themselves in a heated debate over Trump's proposed Muslim ban and his obsession with "radical Islam." Last week, we watched Trump enact the ban; last night, he took on the latter.
According to Reuters, which cites five people briefed on the following matter, Trump has decided to whittle down the focus of the Department of Homeland Security's Countering Violent Extremism (CVE)—an initiative that counters domestic extreme ideology—to solely focus on the actions of Muslims. Whereas the effort as it stands today addresses extremism from groups like white supremacists, a demographic many advocates say has been emboldened by the recent election, Trump has decided to change the name of the department to either "Countering Islamic Extremism" or "Countering Radical Islamic Extremism."
As an attempt to justify how anyone could think this is a good idea, the Reuters article reads that "some Republicans in Congress have long assailed the program as politically correct and ineffective, asserting that singling out and using the term 'radical Islam' as the trigger for many violent attacks would help focus deterrence efforts." The counter-argument is that the wording "radical Islam" will ostracize and cause potential harm to the more than three million people in America who peacefully practice Islam.
For a little background information on the CVE: In September 2015, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson created the Office for Community Partnerships to lead the DHS's efforts to counter domestic violent extremism in all its form. Three months later, Congress passed the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, which provided $10 million to fund a "countering violent extremism (CVE) initiative to help states and local communities prepare for, prevent, and respond to emergent threats from violent extremism." Then in July 2016, DHS announced the creation of the Countering Violent Extremism Grant Program. The DHS website reads as follows:
"These new grants will provide state, local and tribal partners and community groups—religious groups, mental health and social service providers, educators and other NGOs—with the ability to build prevention programs that address the root causes of violent extremism and deter individuals who may already be radicalizing to violence."
Between the September 11 attacks and June 2015, right-wing extremists killed nearly 50 people, which is almost twice the number killed by people who identified as jihadists during that time, according to a study conducted by the New America Foundation research center.
That's Bleak. Who's Fighting Against It?
Michigan-based Leaders Advancing & Helping Communities recently backed out of a $500,000 DHS grant it had sought just days before Trump's "Muslim ban." The group is led by Lebanese-Americans, and they cited "the current political climate and cause for concern" as reasoning behind their declination.
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