News Release

Biden’s “Anti Hate” Agenda Perpetuates “Harmful Counterterrorism Framework” that “Furthered White Supremacy”


On Thursday, President Biden is scheduled to give a talk at the “United We Stand” summit which he is hosting. But dozens of groups have just released a letter criticizing the Countering Violent Extremism program.

Among the signers:

Ahmad is executive director of the Muslim Justice League and wrote the piece “Why ‘Countering Violent Extremism’ Programs Won’t Stop White Supremacists.” She said today: “After being clearly targeted by CVE, it is extremely frustrating for Muslims to see it rebranded and promoted as an answer to white supremacist violence. This model does not work against any violence, but it does encourage biased profiling that will continue to impact Muslims and Black and brown communities. Expanding counterterrorism initiatives like CP3 or social media monitoring is not equity — we did not ask for equal opportunity surveillance. Addressing white supremacist violence must start with addressing the racism and Islamophobia perpetuated by institutions like DHS, not asking them to lead the charge.”

Udry is executive director of Defending Rights & Dissent. She said today: “The CVE program was designed as a counterterrorism program and has now been repurposed as CP3 [Center for Prevention Programs and Partnerships] to fight hate violence, without a shred of evidence that it is effective. But there is ample evidence that it harms communities and undermines civil liberties. The CP3 program should be ended.”

From the letter:

“From Charlottesville to Buffalo, we have seen the consistent and visible rise of white supremacist violence. We recognize the urgency of the political moment. We have all grasped for words and solutions as our country reels from the recent manifestation of our country’s long history of white supremacist violence. And still, we write to you deeply concerned that the United We Stand summit will continue or expand the harmful counterterrorism framework and initiatives that have furthered white supremacy, particularly the Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) program now named Center for Prevention Programs and Partnerships (CP3) at the Department of Homeland Security. We oppose this repackaging of a flawed initiative.

“Since the Obama-Biden administration launched CVE, Muslim communities and civil rights groups nationally have consistently called for an end to this program. Your campaign promise to end the program gave us hope, but we have subsequently been deeply disappointed that CVE instead has been renamed and rebranded as a ‘public health’ and ‘whole of society’ approach to preventing violence. Law enforcement funding and shepherding of social services is not a ‘whole of society’ approach, but rather furthers criminalization and chills access to these essential services.

“DHS claims that it has dramatically revamped CVE, even recently touting it as part of the DHS Equity Action Plan. While the first years of the CVE program included blatant targeting of Muslims, with behaviors like wearing the hijab or criticizing foreign policy deemed risks, now DHS claims it is ideologically neutral, promoting much broader ‘indicators’ like having psychological issues, sporadic employment, and trouble in relationships.

“This shift from pure Islamophobia to supposedly targeting anyone is not helpful when the underlying assumptions are false. Time and time again, both observers and CVE materials themselves show almost all of these so-called indicators are NOT predictive of violence and exhibiting one or more of them does not mean the person will commit violence. Indeed, many of these indicators are widely demonstrated throughout the United States by people not inclined to engage in any violence. …

“The rebranding of this initiative as ‘public health’ is undercut by the involvement of the U.S. Intelligence Community — including the National Counterterrorism Center and the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis — and federal law enforcement agencies.”