Muslim Advocates commends the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) for stopping plans for a controversial countering violent extremism (CVE) initiative. The cancellation of plans for “Shared Responsibility Committees” (SRCs) today comes after a year of dialogue and protest against a program that had the potential to open participants to legal risks and liability, create distrust amongst community members, and impede on Americans’ civil rights.
“SRCs would have essentially deputized educators, health care workers, and religious leaders as arms of law enforcement, jeopardizing the trust necessary for these non-policing professionals to carry out their jobs,” said Farhana Khera, executive director of Muslim Advocates. “Law enforcement has an important job to protect us, but it must do so while upholding our nation’s values.”
After extensive dialogue with Muslim Advocates, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Arab American Institute and other allied organizations, DOJ reexamined SRC plans and changed course on this dangerous and deeply flawed initiative.
The SRCs, which would have been directed and controlled by the FBI, would have convened local religious leaders, social workers, health professionals and local community members to speak with individuals law enforcement identified as “potentially violent extremists.” While it appeared the participants had to maintain strict confidentiality, couldn’t identify themselves as part of the program, or even seek legal counsel, law enforcement could gather and share all information collected through the program, however they wanted, including with foreign governments. Furthermore, the program appeared to give the committees, which had no legal training, authority to make recommendations for whether individuals should be further investigated by law enforcement.
To read more about the SRCs click here.