A new federal government program years in the making has started to roll-out in Boston, Minneapolis, and Los Angeles. Countering Violent Extremism (CVE), is an initiative of the Obama administration being implemented by federal agencies in a coordinated effort with local community-based organizations, to create social and educational programs for young people at risk of being exposed to terrorist propaganda.
Put bluntly, the plan is to limit the further spread of jihadist ideology in predominately Muslim communities.
CVE has gained the media’s attention as the Department of Justice announced earlier in the week that six Somalian-Americans from Minnesota were arrested and charged with conspiracy to support a foreign enemy. The FBI learned that the suspects had planned to fly to Syria and join the Islamic military, and a number of them were stopped at various airports before boarding their flights.
Minneapolis is home of the largest Somalian community in the U.S. and plans to use the CVE initiative to provide job placement and college financial aid to deter similar incidences from happening again.
Boston, on the other hand, is working with it’s immigrant communities to help encourage assimilation, and counter the temptations of gang association. Both cities’ programs have also begun an anti-terrorist messaging campaign on social media to neutralize the fundamentalist propaganda also promoted on Facebook and Twitter by groups like ISIS and al-Qaida.
In L.A., an organization named New Ground has been created to connect Jews and Muslims in an “interfaith partnership”, in order to improve relations between the two communities.
As for funding, there hasn’t been any federal dollars appropriated yet. President Obama has requested $15 million in his 2016 budget proposal for the three cities however. As of right now the programs are being financed locally in coordination with the Department of Homeland Security, which does have it’s own full-time CVE coordinator.
So, it seems like the White House is banking on Congress to give CVE a kick-start. Let’s hope Republicans on the Hill acquiesce for the sake of saving the President the embarrassment of leaving these local initiatives in the lurch after approaching them with the idea in the first place!