WASHINGTON—Today, House Homeland Security Committee Ranking Member Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), House Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member Eliot Engel (D-NY), House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) sent a letter to Acting Attorney General Dana Boente to demand answers on reports that President Trump intends to overhaul the government Countering Violent Extremism program in a manner that would target and single out Muslim Americans.
“Such a move is wrongheaded insofar as persons who commit acts of violent extremism are inspired by diverse political, religious, and philosophical beliefs, and are not limited to any single population or region.”
“Changing the name to ‘Countering Islamic Extremism’ or ‘Countering Radical Islamic Extremism’ would have damaging effects to our national security by feeding into the propaganda created by terrorist groups and chill domestic and international diplomatic relations. Additionally, it could further alienate and create distrust in the Muslim-American communities when the program depends on close cooperation with law enforcement. Finally, such a move is also certain to have civil rights implications since the targeting of any American on the basis of religion—as opposed to unlawful action—violates the U.S. Constitution.”
“The specter that there would be a Federal program that – in name and action – singles out people of a particular faith warrants immediate consideration by the Department of Justice.”