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The 80% CVE Solution and Hassan vs. The City of New York

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What CVE is not About

Countering Violent Extremism is fundamentally not about reducing the level of violence in the United States. If it were the Muslim community would not be the only target. It is merely a program to convince Middle America the government is doing something about a perceived problem with the Muslim community.

TSAIn this sense it is like Airport security, an absurdist theatrical display to demonstrate to the masses that the government is doing something to keep everyone safe, regardless of evidence to the contrary. Just like there is no evidence to support the idea that the TSA can identify a terrorist by looking at facial expressions, there is no way to predict an “ideology” can do the same.

Calling it theatre does not necessarily mean it is harmless.  Indeed the false assumptions about the Muslim community’s dangerousness can have real consequences, including violence against Muslims. The other harm caused is to a constitutional principle — this gets government and law enforcement involved in religious doctrine, causing needless and harmful entanglement with religion, where the government deputizes and amplifies some members of the Muslim community to demonize the rest of the Muslim community.

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In the United Kingdom, Prevent, on which CVE is based, did this well. Muslims close to it attempted get the government to use concern about terrorism in order to promote their own parochial interests. The term “extremist” then starts to mean someone who opposes a government policy or the work of the deputized “leader”. Muslims who fail to tow the government line become, as the UK Prime Minister declared, “subversive.” This does not mean the designated “extremist” is violent. It only means the person has a religious or political viewpoint that is different from what a good Muslim should have, and is thus regarded as dangerous to the state. This creates a boutique tyranny affecting a single religious community, causing teachers to be concerned about being turned into “frontline storm troopers, who listen … spy and notify the authorities.” Muslim parents fear losing their children over things children may say or do in school.

Finding Official American Muslim Moderates

Muhammed Hisham KabbaniAs in the United Kingdom, the US Government has sought it’s own official moderates. Among them have been cleric Muhammad Hisham Kabbani and his followers. In 1999, Kabbani gained notoriety within the Muslim community for claiming at a State Department forum that “extremists” led over 80% of all Mosques. Kabbani’s propaganda against the rest of the US Muslim community was heralded by the Islamophobia industry. In the King hearings in Congress on the US Muslim community years later, Representative King made a similar claim based on Kabbani’s slander.

Kabbani’s organization has branched out into CVE, which is a natural fit.  Kabbani is listed as a “specialist” at the CVE shop WORDE, the “World Organization for Research and Education.” WORDE receives US Government funds (according to it’s annual report) and is led by Kabbani disciple Hedieh Mirahmadi. Mirahmadi has also been a fellow at an AIPAC created think tank. Israel advocacy and CVE seem to be intimately connected.

WORDE was heralded just last month by a House Republican majority report on Countering Violent Extremism as deserving of additional resources. It is easy to see why. Kabbani’s organization has called on by the government to only work with Muslims and to work for “state interests” while making bold and unsubstantiated claims against Muslims who disagree with them.

WORDE’s 2010 report on CVE (which slightly predated Obama’s call for a similar strategy) advocated for US policy makers as well as selected Muslim leaders who shared their “values” and started to call out “a particular sect” or “some Islamic foundation” as being a “problem.”  Kabbani’s group itself has not been bashful about doing this. For them, almost the entire American Muslim community is a “problem” because of “decades of Islamist indoctrination” in the United States.

They provide the government advice on working with the “good Muslims” and point to a rouge’s gallery of bad ones, the latter comes out to about 80% of the community.

Eyes and Ears

WORDE has initiated a program for CVE called the “Montgomery County Model” – a spying program explicitly based on Prevent. It is designed to turn Muslim leaders, counselors, teachers and others into “frontline storm troopers” who will act as the “eyes and ears” for law enforcement.

In both the case of Hassan vs. The City of New York and in CVE, the common thread is the singling out of Muslims for a program predicated on their dangerousness. CVE is not made better because the government is working with deputized Muslims with an axe to grind against the rest of the Muslim community.

The Hassan opinion on NYPD spying inadvertently made the case against CVE as clear as possible:

“What occurs here in one guise is not new. We have been down similar roads before. Jewish-Americans during the Red Scare, African-Americans during the Civil Rights Movement, and Japanese-Americans during World War II are examples that readily spring to mind. We are left to wonder why we cannot see with foresight what we see so clearly with hindsight—that ‘[l]oyalty is a matter of the heart and mind[,] not race, creed, or color.’”

America’s constitutional law and the recent experience with NYPD spying bode poorly for CVE and the network of ideological and opportunistic contractors who extol their own virtues while warning of the horrors of “ideologies” and political views they despise. What we need now are leaders willing to rise up to vindicate the American tradition of individual liberty rather than kowtowing to what they believe the government expects of them.


Ahmed Shaikh is an Estate Planning Attorney in Orange County, California. He is also on the Board of the ACLU of Southern California. Follow him on Twitter @bornshaikh

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The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

Ahmed Shaikh is a Southern California Attorney. He writes about inheritance, nonprofits and other legal issues affecting Muslims in the United States. He is the co-author of "Estate Planning for the Muslim Client," published by the American Bar Association. His Islamic Inheritance website is www.islamicinheritance.com

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Aafia

    October 26, 2015 at 11:42 AM

    What is the need to spy? Will they like it if someone spy on them?

  2. Pingback: » Stop Demanding White Christian CVE

  3. Pingback: » Can CVE Mean An End to Islamic Inheritance?

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