Trump plans to reshape counter-extremism program to focus on Islam: report

Trump plans to reshape counter-extremism program to focus on Islam: report
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The Trump administration is pushing to reshape a government program aimed at combating extremist ideologies to focus solely to countering Islamist extremists, Reuters reports.

Under the administration’s plan, the “Countering Violent Extremism” program, which is intended to counter all types of violent ideologies, including white supremacy, would become “Countering Islamic Extremism" or "Countering Radical Islamic Extremism," five people briefed on the matter told Reuters.

The program currently uses measures such as social media campaigns and community partnerships to counter extremism in U.S. communities. It is not part of a separate military effort to counter extremists online. 

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Some Republican lawmakers have criticized the program as ineffective, and Trump has long promised to get tough on "radical Islamic terror."

But critics of Trump's rhetoric say it will only foster more anti-U.S. sentiment and extremism and give terror organizations recruiting tools.

"That is concerning for us because they are targeting a faith group and casting it under a net of suspicion," Hoda Hawa, the director of policy for the Muslim Public Affairs Council, told Reuters.

The president carried out part of his campaign promise to fight terrorism on Friday, when he signed a controversial executive order barring citizens from seven predominantly Muslim countries from traveling to the U.S., suspending the country’s refugee resettlement program for four months, and indefinitely halting the acceptance of Syrian refugees.