Influence: The Muslim Brotherhood in America

Obama’s Program Aimed at Countering Violent Extremism a “Catastrophic Failure”

Besides the lack of political will to tackle Islamic terrorism, a central reason for the failure of Obama’s Countering Violent Extremism program is its flawed premise.

BY Bruce Cornibe · | April 25, 2016

Patrick Poole, national security and terrorism analyst for PJMedia, wrote a timely piece this week labeled, Obama’s ‘Countering Violent Extremism’ Program Collapses Into Absurdity, offering insight into why President Obama’s CVE program has failed miserably. Let’s take a look into this claim and see if it’s true, but first, what is CVE?

The Obama administration started efforts towards CVE (Countering Violent Extremism) back in 2011. U.S. Department of State describes the program as a “critical component of a comprehensive and sustainable counterterrorism strategy that seeks to address the entire life cycle of radicalization to violent extremism.” Then in February of 2015, at the White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism, President Obama went into more detail about the CVE, announcing the introduction of three local programs in Boston, Minneapolis and Los Angeles.

Poole highlights the three major goals of CVE:

“(1) enhancing engagement with and support to local communities that may be targeted by violent extremists; (2) building government and law enforcement expertise for preventing violent extremism; and (3) countering violent extremist propaganda while promoting our ideals.”

Patrick sums up those goals into three categories: “1) engagement; 2) training; and 3) counter-propaganda.” So have these goals been accomplished?


Muslim Organizations made sure they had a step in the CVE initiative from the beginning. 57 Leading Muslim groups reached out to the Obama administration in 2011 in attempts of an “Islamophobia Purge” of the U.S. government; thus, having a major influence in the procedures of the CVE program. These group’s intentions were to change “the language used in national security documents and protocol.” Kerry Picket reported that top Muslim organizations (in October, 2011) wrote a letter to John Brennan requesting the Obama administration setup a task force with these Muslim groups to “purge” U.S. government training of views they judge as not acceptable. Despite, the significant implications of these demands, Muslim organizations are still unsatisfied with CVE to this day. For instance, in August of 2015, Islamic and civil rights groups showed their disapproval of the CVE pilot programs, attacking their overall effectiveness as well as accusations of inordinately targeting Muslim communities, saying,

“There’s no evidence programs like this are effective,” said Liza Behrendt, organizing consultant for Jewish Voice for Peace, an antidiscrimination group. “It’s a federal program that singles out Muslim communities and reinforces false notions of the link between Islam and terrorism.”

Nadeem A. Mazen, a Cambridge city councilor, called the program “authoritarian.” He urged an alternative approach that would increase community engagement and community policing, rather than using “violent practices like surveillance and racial profiling.” Shannon Erwin, cofounder of the Muslim Justice League, said the program could rely on false indicators to identify potential at-risk youths, targeting people who grow beards, express interest in foreign policy, and adhere to strict religious beliefs.

Other Left-leaning groups such as the Brennan Center for Justice have also voiced similar concerns of the program.

The failure of CVE in preventing young adults from joining the likes of ISIS is evidenced by the current arrests in Minneapolis. Being a major target of CVE you would think the situation in Minneapolis would improve, but not so. In December of 2015, Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame, the ringleader of a ten-man terror cell looking to join ISIS was arrested by the FBI. Makes you wonder how many potential terrorists are still out there.


As previously noted, many of the groups tied to the Muslim Brotherhood (including ISNA, CAIR, and others) were effectively able to have Obama revamp U.S. national security and counter-terrorism polices by making demands such as,

“Purge all federal government training materials of biased materials”

“[M]andatory re-training program for FBI agents”

“[A]ll trainers and other government employees who promoted biased trainers and training materials are effectively disciplined”

Of course these demands were to weed out anything or anyone trying to make a correlation between terrorism and Islam. Not only do these stipulations prevent any real kind of meaningful training for government officials and community leaders, but they punish those that are actually trying to solve the terrorism problem. Major General Nagata (former head of Special Operations Command Central) expressed his frustration in a series of discussions in 2014, over how the overhaul of U.S. national security and counter-terrorism policies affects the ability to defeat the enemy:

“We do not understand the movement, and until we do, we are not going to defeat it,” he said, according to the confidential minutes of a conference call he held with the experts. “We have not defeated the idea. We do not even understand the idea.”


Signed into law on September 9, 2011, “The Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications (CSCC) was established at the direction of the President and the Secretary of State to coordinate, orient, and inform government-wide foreign communications activities targeted against terrorism and violent extremism, particularly al-Qaida and its affiliates and adherents.” The CSCC is dedicated to countering “terrorist propaganda and misinformation about the United States across a wide variety of interactive digital environments that had previously been ceded to extremists.” Patrick Poole points out some of the failures of the CSCC, which include: high turnover rate of leadership, unable to reach potential terrorist recruits, list of public gaffes (ex. “Welcome to ISIS Land” video), etc.

Besides the lack of political will to tackle Islamic terrorism, one of the main reasons for Obama’s CVE failure is a flawed philosophy. For Obama and the Left, terrorism is the result of ideology (non Islamic), poverty, and lack of education. Obama highlighted these points and others in his 2015, White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism speech. First, Obama’s mistake is to completely separate ISIS and Al Qaeda from Islam, thus making terrorism and Islam seem mutually exclusive (reason why he can’t say Islamic terrorism). This ignores the large following these terror groups have in the Islamic world, with millions of sympathizers (not only laymen but clerics and leaders). Second, Immanuel Al-Manteeqi, lecturer in the Humanities, debunks the belief that poverty and lack of education are essential drivers for terrorism, stating,

“Correlation does not imply causation. While lack of education and wealth may make would-be recruits more open to leaving their first-world countries in order to seek what is sure to be their own demise in the Islamic State, it is not an adequate explanation of their choice. Such factors do not adequately explain why so many people from different first-world countries would choose to travel to the third-world Islamic State, knowing that they would face almost certain death.”

From the Obama administration’s placation to Islamic organizations in the early stages of CVE to those same groups now rejecting CVE to Obama’s ideological denial of the true enemy (Islamic terrorism), one can only expect more of the same results.


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