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Month: February 2015

Why Laws Alone Won’t Stem Hate Violence

Why Laws Alone Won’t Stem Hate Violence

In the wake of the North Carolina shootings, the families of the victims and community-based organizations have rightly demanded that they be characterized as hate crimes and prosecuted as such. But hate crimes laws and prosecutions alone cannot stem the hate violence that has targeted Muslims, Arabs, South Asians and Sikhs in the fourteen years since 9/11. That is because the climate of hostility towards these communities exists cannot be dismantled through the justice system alone, and in many ways, national security and immigration policies have reinforced this climate. I wrote about this at Al Jazeera America and provided recommendations on how we might dismantle this climate altogether:

Without systemic solutions and practices that challenge and change the culture and climate of hostility toward Muslim, Arab, Sikh and South Asian communities, efforts to counter hate violence through only legal solutions will not stick…Fostering a climate based on mutual understanding and respect of the multiracial communities we are fast becoming in America will take vigilance from each of us. It starts with a better understanding of one another’s stories, histories and experiences, with the intention of finding common threads and identifying one another’s humanity. Civic, faith, education and business leaders, in partnership with artists and cultural bridge builders, can create spaces and opportunities that allow people to engage in dialogue with one another. We can learn from movements such as #BlackLivesMatter that have allowed us to have honest national conversations about how people of color experience violence and discrimination.

Read more here.

Counter The Narrative of the “Countering Violent Extremism” Framework

Counter The Narrative of the “Countering Violent Extremism” Framework

On February 16-18, the White House held a national summit on “countering violent extremism” (or CVE). Since it has been implemented by the federal government, CVE has almost exclusively been focused on American Muslim communities. Many advocates around the country responded with harsh criticism of the Summit’s focus and the architecture behind the CVE framework generally.

Over at The Guardian, Linda Sarsour (@lsarsour) and I wrote a piece asking why the federal government did not have a similar focus on other forms of violent extremism such as the rise in rightwing extremist groups. We write:

The threat of right-wing domestic extremism is not far-fetched. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), since the year 2000, the number of hate groups in the United States has increased by 56%; they now include anti-immigrant, anti-LGBT, anti-Muslim and anti-government “Patriot” groups. The federal government too is aware of the threats from these groups. In April 2009, a report by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on right-wing extremism was leaked and then withdrawn. It revealed the government’s assessment that “white supremacist lone wolves” posed the most significant domestic terrorist threat in the US.

Yet, despite this complicated and growing landscape of domestic right-wing groups, the Obama Administration’s Countering Violent Extremism programs continue to focus on the threat of radicalization in Muslim communities.
Read more here.

More Resources on the CVE framework:

*Basic Information from the Brennan Center for Justice

*Questions about the CVE framework compiled by Darakshan Raja, Washington Peace Center, Dr. Maha Hilal, National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms, and Ramah Kudaimi, Washington Peace Center

*Why civil rights concerns should be addressed: an oped by Hina Shamsi, ACLU

*Why the CVE framework is inherently flawed: an oped by Faiza Patel, Brennan Center

*Linda Sarsour weighs in on the CVE Summit and POTUS’ remarks–  on the Rachel Maddow show

Find tweets about CVE under #CountertheNarrative

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