Extremists or patriots?
Racialisation of countering violent extremism programming in the US
in Encountering extremism
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US far-right extremists have killed people and armed militias have occupied government lands. Despite these violent activities, these individuals – the majority of whom are white men – are not often described as extremists by the media and government. Instead, the main focus of US countering violent extremism (CVE) is on Muslim and Arab-Americans. This chapter considers this erasure of far-right and militia violence in US CVE and suggests that a race-based analysis of violent extremism in the US offers insights into various implications of who is (not) considered a threat. It uses concepts of Islamophobia and ‘suspect communities’ to analyse US CVE practices. Examining the cases of armed occupation of federal lands in 2014 and 2016 and comparing these with ‘extremism’ cases in Minneapolis, along with an extensive analysis of the Department of Homeland Security’s CVE programme grants, this chapter illustrates the racialised nature of who is considered ‘extremist’ in the US. Centralising race illustrates how ‘extremism’ is linked mainly with brown bodies, while erasing violence by white men from debates and policies on countering violent extremism.

Encountering extremism

Theoretical issues and local challenges

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