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Countering Violent Extremism

We advocate abandoning Countering Violent Extremism programs, which rely on stereotypes, in favor of evidence-based counterterrorism operations.


Despite mount­ing evid­ence show­ing that Coun­ter­ing Viol­ent Extrem­ism (CVE) programs lack any scientific basis, are inef­fect­ive at redu­cing terror­ism, and are over­whelm­ingly discrim­in­at­ory in nature, the Depart­ment of Home­land Secur­ity contin­ues to push for such programs to be deployed in communit­ies of color.

Although framed in neut­ral terms, CVE programs over­whelm­ingly target Muslim communit­ies, who are treated as inher­ently suspect. And while CVE is often presen­ted as the softer side of coun­terter­ror­ism, the Bren­nan Center’s research has shown its close nexus to law enforce­ment and surveil­lance. The flaws of these programs have only been exacer­bated by the Trump admin­is­tra­tion’s blatantly anti-Muslim and xeno­phobic rhet­oric and policies, and the programs now also target refugees, asylum seekers, and Black Lives Matter activ­ists. While some argue that CVE’s flaws can be ameli­or­ated if it is imple­men­ted against all types of terror­ism, given the lack of evid­ence that CVE is effect­ive, we do not believe it is an appro­pri­ate response to far-right viol­ence.

The Bren­nan Center for Justice has brought these issues to light through its research. We also work with a coali­tion of allies, many of whom are based in the affected communit­ies, to oppose federal, state, and local CVE initi­at­ives in favor of evid­ence-based approaches. 

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