A California Islamic school recently became the fourth school to reject federal funds designated for preventing violent extremism. Why? Because…Trump.
The Bayan Claremont Graduate school made the decision to turn down federal funds last week. The $800,000 would have covered more than half of its annual budget. The school’s leadership decided not to take federal funds because they believe President Trump’s rhetoric and travel ban were excessive and — you guessed — racist.
The federal program that provides the funding is called “countering violent extremism (CVE).” This plan was created under former President Barack Obama. Its objective is to help non-profit organizations prevent radicalization. This is done by creating prevention programs that deal with the causes of violent extremism. According to the Department of Homeland Security,
These new grants will provide state, local and tribal partners and community groups—religious groups, mental health and social service providers, educators and other NGOs—with the ability to build prevention programs that address the root causes of violent extremism and deter individuals who may already be radicalizing to violence.
Jihad Turk, the leader of the Bayan Claremont school stated that the decision was not an easy one to make. Even under the Obama administration, Turk had concerns about the new directive. He believes that Trump’s approach to addressing the problem of Islamic terrorism is wrong-headed. Additionally, he does not trust that extremist ideology is a significant factor that causes hostility.
According to Jonah Bennett of the Daily Caller,
Turk also noted that the concerns expressed about the CVE program were also expressed during the Obama administration’s tenure, as school officials did not believe the mere presence of extremist ideology alone necessitated a clear path to violence.
Turk seems to believe that Islam has little to do with terrorist acts carried out by Muslims. Bennett goes on to write,
In March 2016, Turk took part in a forum about religious extremism and said that as far as he’s concerned, what often looks like religiously-motivated terror is often reducible to identity politics or struggles over territory.
This is a popular argument used by the left and well-meaning Muslims. They consistently attempt to divorce Islamic theology from violent attacks carried out in the name of Allah. It is believed that labeling these acts of terror as “Islamic terrorism” is a smear on all Muslims.
This is simply not true.
In some cases, it is a lie that is being deliberately perpetuated in the name of political correctness. In other cases, it is being spread by those who truly believe the falsehood.
The vast majority of Americans — both conservatives and liberals — know that most Muslims are not terrorists. Muslims are like other people who simply desire to live their lives peacefully.
However, the Muslims who do embrace radical Islamic theology are nothing like these peaceful Muslims. The problem is that violent radicals can easily use the Qur’an to justify killing. There are numerous verses in the Qur’an that command Muslims to murder unbelievers.
Most Muslims do not take these verses literally. Unfortunately, a large number of them do. The notion that Islamic extremism can be separated from the religion is dangerous. If we are unable to identify our enemy, it will be that much harder to gain an upper hand in the fight. It is not difficult. Our enemy is radical Islam. Not peaceful Islam.
This should not be difficult to understand.
The refusal of these organizations to accept the CVE funds is problematic because we need their help to protect Americans from Islamic extremism. There is no acceptable reason why their disagreements with President Trump should hinder them from standing against Islamic extremism.
If these schools take this issue as seriously as they claim, it would make sense to use all of the resources at their disposal to enhance their efforts. If our nation is going to seriously take up the fight against Islamic terrorism, we must have the support of all types of Americans — regardless of their religion or political views.