Federal DHS grants on extremism concern Muslims in Michigan

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The week before Donald Trump was inaugurated last year, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) awarded a Lebanese-American group in Dearborn $500,000 as part of a government effort to counter violent extremism known as CVE. The department also gave Dearborn Police $51,000 as part of the program. 

But the grants drew backlash from Arab-American and civil rights advocates who worried the money stereotyped Arab-Americans and Muslims and could be used for surveillance.

A week after Trump became president, the Dearborn group, Leaders Advancing and Helping Communities, formerly known as the Lebanese American Heritage Club (LAHC), turned down the half a million dollar grant. Other Arab-American and Muslim groups across the U.S., such as the Somali-American community in Minnesota, also turned down grants, saying they were being singled out for discussions about violent extremism.

Now, the CVE (Countering Violent Extremism) program is back in Michigan again drawing controversy with a new effort through the National Governors Association, which announced earlier this year it has chosen Michigan as one of four states to create “policy academies” to monitor and counter violent extremism. The Department of Homeland Security gave the governor’s association $500,000 for the program. 

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