DHS & Nat'l Counterterrorism Center Cite MPAC as Valuable Training Resource for Combating Extremism

October 25, 2011

MPAC announced today that its 2010 “Building Bridges to Strengthen America” policy paper was cited in the Department of Homeland Security's guidance document on conducting countering violent extremism (CVE) seminars as a “best practices” resources.

MPAC was listed by the DHS in its section on “more information for best practices in CVE training and community policing efforts” as the exclusive “nongovernmental organization” resource for the paper which offers a community partnership strategy to combating violence and extremist ideologies.

SEE: “Building Bridges to Strengthen America” (MPAC.org)

ALSO SEE: Countering Violent Extremism: Guidance and Best Practices (DHS.gov)

An inter-agency working group convened by the Department of Homeland Security and the National Counterterrorism Center produced the guidance document for federal, state and local government and law enforcement officials organizing CVE, cultural awareness or counterterrorism training.

“Building Bridges” provides a mainstream Muslim American contribution to the conversation about counterterrorism policy. In particular, it seeks to outline a "blueprint" for how Muslim American communities - from a Muslim American perspective - can be an asset to national security. The report also provides practical recommendations for law enforcement to uphold civil liberties while maintaining their effectiveness.

Among other things, the report provides:

  • An assessment of current public opinion and policy discourse on violent extremism
  • An understanding of processes leading to "radicalization" and violent extremism
  • Critiquing the effectiveness of current counterterrorism policies such as informants, NSA wiretapping, racial profiling and national security letters
  • A model of a community-law enforcement partnership based on community-oriented policing
  • An analysis of potential challenges to community-oriented policing

This inter-agency guidance comes at a time when community leaders and organizations have expressed alarm at several reports exposing fraudulent and biased training by individuals such as Walid Shoebat and William Gawthrop for the FBI and other law enforcement agencies.

“This is an important first step toward fully addressing this serious concern to our nation’s security and our communities,” said Alejandro J. Beutel, MPAC's Government & Policy Analyst and author of “Building Bridges.” “We will continue to engage our government partners in order to increase our nation’s effectiveness to fight terrorism and address the civil liberties concerns of our nation’s communities.”

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