The American Human Rights Council (AHEC-USA) joins the civil rights and civil liberties community in expressing serious concerns regarding the FBI’s “Shared Responsibility Committee” element of the government’s Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) program that is expected to be announced and launched soon.
While AHRC-USA stands firm in supporting the government agencies in their diligent efforts ensuring the safety and security of the US, we caution that the practices and implementation should be objective, transparent and that race, color, religion and national origin should not be used to unfairly target innocent citizens. One of the major concerns expressed about such program is the focus on citizens of Arab and/or Muslim descent. We believe targeting on the bases of ethnicity and religion is bound to compromise these communities’ key role in fighting terrorism and undermine trust in government.
AHRC urges the FBI to reconsider this initiative and to assure full and complete constructive and inclusive partnership and discussion with all the stakeholders. All segments of the community should be part of such a process. The program, as reported on in the media, has raised deep concerns in the targeted communities.
There is no doubt that many individuals, from government and from the communities targeted, have worked over the years to build bridges of dialogue and trust between the government and the Arab and Muslim communities and that dialogue should continue and trust should not, by default or by design, be undermined. We urge a continuation of the dialogue.
Since the national tragedy of the 9/ 11 attacks and in these very treacherous times we live in, we believe that all decent peace- loving people are on the same side in confronting terrorism, terrorism that targets the innocent and harms the innocent of all kinds of background.
“The most important human rights are the rights to life and to living in a safe environment. We cannot enjoy these rights without a strong, capable and vigilant government and government agencies that have the support and trust of the people,” said Imad Hamad, AHRC Executive Director. “We believe that the stakeholder approach is the best approach that would facilitate dialogue and help build trust in these very challenging times, stated Hamad.