Donald Trump’s administration is reportedly pushing to erase "neo-Nazis and white supremacists" from the US government’s counter-extremism programme by moving it to focus exclusively on Islamist terrorism.
American officials briefed on the proposed changes told Reuters the Countering Violent Extremism (DVE) initiative could be renamed to “Countering Radical Islamic Extremism”.
“Violent extremist threats come from a range of groups and individuals, including domestic terrorists and homegrown violent extremists in the United States, as well as international terrorist groups like al-Qaeda and Isil (Isis),” reads the current description of CVE on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) website.Stay Connected With Us
But Mr Trump’s rhetoric has focused exclusively on the dangers of “radical Islam”, seeing him criticise Barack Obama for being “weak” on Isis.
The position sparked his executive order suspending the US refugee programme and immigration from seven predominantly Muslim “countries of concern”.
The President claimed the move would prevent “bad dudes” coming to the US, despite the fact countries linked to previous terror attacks were not on the list, as well as warnings the “Muslim ban” would fuel propaganda efforts by Isis and other jihadi groups.
It aims to deter groups or potential lone attackers within the US through community partnerships and education and counter-messaging campaigns in cooperation with companies such as Google and Facebook, and is separate from military and intelligence efforts against online extremism.
Terrorism is defined in the US Code of Federal Regulations as “the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives”.
The definition, used by the FBI and other American agencies, does not specify any groups and encapsulates all extremism from Islamism to anti-Semitism and neo-Nazism.