“Some career officials said they feared the incoming administration may be looking to undo the work that the Obama administration has done on countering violent extremism.”
Let’s hope so! Let’s hope that Trump’s team is requesting these names so that all those who are responsible for the denial and willful ignorance that has hamstrung our response to the jihad threat for years can be swept out.
On October 19, 2011, Farhana Khera of Muslim Advocates wrote a letter to John Brennan, who was then the Assistant to the President on National Security for Homeland Security and Counter Terrorism. The letter was signed not just by Khera, but by the leaders of virtually all the significant Islamic groups in the United States: 57 Muslim, Arab, and South Asian organizations, many with ties to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, including the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), the Muslim American Society (MAS), the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), Islamic Relief USA; and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC).
The letter denounced what it characterized as U.S. government agencies’ “use of biased, false and highly offensive training materials about Muslims and Islam.” Khera complained that my books could be found in “the FBI’s library at the FBI training academy in Quantico, Virginia”; that a reading list accompanying a powerpoint presentation by the FBI’s Law Enforcement Communications Unit recommended my book The Truth About Muhammad; and that in July 2010 I “presented a two-hour seminar on ‘the belief system of Islamic jihadists’ to the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) in Tidewater, Virginia,” and “presented a similar lecture to the U.S. Attorney’s Anti-Terrorism Advisory Council, which is co-hosted by the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office.”
These were supposed to be terrible things because I was bigoted and hateful. But many of the examples Khera adduced of “bigoted and distorted materials” involved statements that were not actually bigoted and distorted at all, but simply accurate. What was distorted was Khera’s representation of them. For instance, Khera stated: “A 2006 FBI intelligence report stating that individuals who convert to Islam are on the path to becoming ‘Homegrown Islamic Extremists,’ if they exhibit any of the following behavior: ‘Wearing traditional Muslim attire’; ‘Growing facial hair’; ‘Frequent attendance at a mosque or a prayer group’; ‘Travel to a Muslim country’; ‘Increased activity in a pro-Muslim social group or political cause.’”
But the FBI intelligence report Khera purported to be describing didn’t actually say that converts to Islam were necessarily “on the path” to becoming “extremists” if they wore traditional Muslim attire, grew facial hair, and frequently attended a mosque; it simply included these behaviors among a list of fourteen indicators to “identify an individual going through the radicalization process.” Others included “travel without obvious source of funds’; “suspicious purchases of bomb making paraphernalia or weapons”; “large transfer of funds, from or to overseas”; and “formation of operational cells.” Khera selectively quoted and misrepresented the list to give the impression that the FBI was saying that devout observance of Islam led inevitably and in every case to “extremism.”
Despite the factual accuracy of the material about which they were complaining, the Muslim groups signing the letter demanded that the task force “purge all federal government training materials of biased materials”; “implement a mandatory re-training program for FBI agents, U.S. Army officers, and all federal, state and local law enforcement who have been subjected to biased training”; and more—to ensure that all that law enforcement officials would learn about Islam and jihad would be what the signatories wanted them to learn.
Brennan assured Khera that all her demands would be met: “Your letter requests that ‘the White House immediately create an interagency task force to address this problem,’ and we agree that this is necessary.” He then detailed other specific actions being undertaken, including “collecting all training materials that contain cultural or religious content, including information related to Islam or Muslims.” In reality this material wouldn’t just be “collected”; it would be purged of anything that Farhana Khera and others like her found offensive—that is, any honest discussion of how Islamic jihadists use Islamic teachings to justify violence.
Thus was born the euphemistic “Countering Violent Extremism” program, which carefully avoids any mention of Islam and jihad. It is time to drain this swamp.
“Exclusive: Trump team seeks names of officials working to counter violent extremism,” by Warren Strobel and Arshad Mohammed, Reuters, December 23, 2016:
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team has asked two Cabinet departments for the names of government officials working on programs to counter violent extremism, according to a document seen by Reuters and U.S. officials.
The requests to the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security involve a set of programs that seek to prevent violence by extremists of any stripe, including recruitment by militant Islamist groups within the United States and abroad.
Reuters could not determine why the Trump team asked for these names. The Trump team did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Trump has frequently criticized President Barack Obama for not doing enough to battle Islamic militants and for his refusal to use the term “radical Islam” to describe Islamic State and other militant groups.
Some career officials said they feared the incoming administration may be looking to undo the work that the Obama administration has done on countering violent extremism….