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Institutionalizing Islamophobia: Critiquing the Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) Framework and Emerging Programs

Friday, February 5th 2016 to Saturday, February 6th 2016


The Center for Islamic Studies at Graduate Theological Union invites you to attend an important upcoming conference, Institutionalizing Islamophobia: Critiquing the Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) Framework and Emerging Programs.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) defines “violent extremism” as “individuals who support or commit ideologically-motivated violence to further political goals.” The government’s concerns with violent extremism appears to be limited to policing “homegrown terrorism,” or acts of violence that are committed within the boundaries of the United States “without direction or inspiration from a foreign terrorist group.” Furthermore, government resources are directed at homegrown terrorism committed by individuals who self-identify as Muslim. The consequence is an overpolicing and securitization of Muslim communities in the United States under the rubric of “Countering Violent Extremism” (CVE).

Several Muslim organizations have embraced CVE programs pursuant to a belief that such programs empower communities to both protect their youth from recruitment by foreign terrorist organizations and protect Muslims from government over-reach. By working with the government, cooperating Muslim organizations claim they are better able to shield their constituents from ill-informed, identity-driven counterterrorism practices. However, because CVE pilot programs in Boston, Los Angeles, and Minneapolis focus solely on Muslim communities, it has become increasingly evident that CVE programs conflate Muslim identity with a propensity for violence. Moreover, the myriad factors that CVE claims to determine an individual’s propensity to engage in violence are broad and amorphous, such that participating in routine religious, political, and other constitutionally protected activities are criminally suspect.

Accordingly, this conference convenes scholars, advocates, and activists to explore and critique the fundamental assumptions and narratives on which CVE programs are founded. In addition to producing empirical and normative scholarship, the conference aims to develop advocacy strategies grounded in the experiences of those most directly and adversely impacted by CVE programs.

This event is sponsored by UCB Center for Race & Gender, the National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms, and GTU Center for Islamic Studies.

When: February 5-6, 2016
Where: Boalt Law School, University of CA Berkeley 215 Boalt Hall Berkeley CA