Obama’s Anti-Extremist Strategy Criticized As Wrongly Singling Out Muslims

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from The Huffington Post,

As the White House prepares to host a three-day summit next week on countering violent extremism, many high-profile Muslim and religious groups argue that the administration’s efforts have unfairly singled out Muslims and the Islamic faith.

In the days leading up to the summit, Muslim Advocates said it has “serious concerns about the government’s track record of treating extremist violence as though it were an exclusively Muslim problem.” The prominent civil rights and legal advocacy group, which will be represented at the White House event, said the government’s efforts on extremism send “a dangerous signal to members of the public that their Muslim neighbors are a threat.”

“We recognize there are people of ill intent trying to recruit American Muslims into their cause. But I think the community needs to be the one that leads on that front,” said Corey Saylor, director of the Department to Monitor and Combat Islamophobia at CAIR.

The organization, which has chapters in nearly every state and dozens of cities, released a five-page paper criticizing the White House’s strategy for countering extremist violence on Friday.

“Stop treating us like suspects and start treating us like assets,” said Saylor, who added that public revelations about government surveillance and informant programs in their communities have made American Muslims suspicious of authorities’ anti-extremism efforts.

This week, 18 non-Muslim organizations — including the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Sikh Coalition, United Church of Christ and United Methodist Church’s General Board of Church and Society — sent an open letter to Obama arguing that the White House summit “seems to single out American Muslim communities.” The letter points to studies by the FBI and the Southern Poverty Law Center that indicate “the overwhelming majority of terrorist incidents in the United States” cannot be blamed on Muslims.

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