LOS ANGELES (August 6, 2015) — In the wake of last week’s closed door Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) summit and the introduction of a Congressional bill to fund CVE initiatives, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles (Advancing Justice – LA) joins a coalition of Los Angeles based civil rights groups on issuing Public Record Act (PRA) and Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests demanding greater government transparency about CVE programs.
Alongside Advancing Justice – LA, the groups include American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California (ACLU SoCal), South Asian Network (SAN) and the Council on American-Islamic Relations of the Greater Los Angeles Area (CAIR-LA). The requests are being made to various federal, state and local agencies to learn about the extent of their participation in the CVE initiatives.
“We remain committed to responding to community concerns regarding CVE programs, including requiring the government to be open and honest about the nature and extent of the programs, especially in light of prior unwarranted targeting and surveillance of Muslim communities that have led to grave civil liberties abuses,” says Laboni Hoq, litigation director at Advancing Justice – LA.
The Los Angeles groups join a collective of similar civil rights organizations in Minneapolis and Boston who have issued similar statements this week. There continues to be strong opposition to both CVE programs and the government’s selective and secretive community engagement in each of the three proposed CVE pilot cities. Los Angeles area civil rights organizations join expressing continued concerns about the negative impact of CVE on civil liberties and registering opposition to them by many within our constituencies.
See “LA-Based Groups Serving American Muslim Communities Question Federal ‘Countering Violent Extremism’ Programs as Ineffective, Stigmatizing” statement:
http://www.advancingjustice- la.org/media-and-publications/ press-releases/la-based- groups-serving-american- muslim-communities-question
“Despite repeatedly raising concerns, civil rights and community-based groups have received no response from the government. Instead the government has decided to prioritize CVE, a program proven to be ineffective, with no support from the community it is directed towards, and major civil rights implications,” says Haroon Manjlai, CAIR-LA’s Public Affairs Coordinator.