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      Countering Violent Extremism: Islamophobia, the Department of Justice and American Islamic Organizations

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      Islamophobia Studies Journal
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            Abstract

            In September 2014, United States Attorney General Eric Holder announced that a new counterterrorism initiative, Countering Violent Extremism (CVE), would be tested in three pilot cities across the US. Minneapolis, Minnesota is one of the three pilot cities for the new CVE initiative and is home to the largest Somali immigrant population in the world as well as a very large and diverse multi-ethnic Muslim community. Since 2008, when several young Somali-American Muslims left the US to participate in armed operations in Somalia, the community has suffered in an environment of extreme suspicion and distrust.

            The surveillance of Muslim-Americans as a key component of American counterterrorism efforts has been the subject of both legal and academic analysis. Reports of spying, infiltration, and harassment have become commonplace in recent years. While these reports are often accompanied by challenges to the legality of the programs used to collect information, very little if any scholarship exists on how American Islamic organizations respond to this intense level of policing.

            This research project examines the narrative generated by Muslim organizations in Minnesota, in response to heightened counterterrorism initiatives – particularly CVE – to assess the impact of counterterrorism programs on American Islamic organizations and to highlight the role of Islamophobia as it informs various aspects of such initiatives.

            Initial findings suggest the presence of an accommodationist narrative among several organizations, but further investigation is required to explore the questions that raises. For example: How prevalent is that narrative? Is it indicative of a shift in organizational values? Is it an organizational strategy to appease law enforcement while allowing “genuine” work to continue unhampered?

            Content

            Author and article information

            Contributors
            Journal
            10.13169
            islastudj
            Islamophobia Studies Journal
            Pluto Journals
            23258381
            2325839X
            Fall 2015
            : 3
            : 1
            : 127-137
            Affiliations
            University of Minnesota
            Article
            islastudj.3.1.0127
            10.13169/islastudj.3.1.0127
            402cff20-af04-42f3-8d7f-f5fbec8745b9
            © Islamophobia Research and Documentation Project, Center for Race and Gender, University of California, Berkeley

            All content is freely available without charge to users or their institutions. Users are allowed to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of the articles in this journal without asking prior permission of the publisher or the author. Articles published in the journal are distributed under a http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

            History

            Social & Behavioral Sciences

            Endnotes

            1. “Strategic Implementation Plan for Empowering Local Partners to Prevent Violent Extremism in the United States” https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/sip-final.pdf

            2. As a community member actively engaged in this issue, I am frequently invited to attend briefings, discussions and public announcements dealing with CVE. This particular set of root causes of violent extremism was presented several times publicly from October, 2014 to my last observation in March, 2015.

            3. http://www.startribune.com/local/minneapolis/292307031.html

            4. http://www.mprnews.org/story/2009/04/24/omar_jamal

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