A government anti-radicalization internet program set to be launched months ago is finally up and running with the changes demanded by Islamic activists that claimed the original version was biased against Muslims.
This is a story Judicial Watch has followed closely. Back in November JW reported that the Obama administration abruptly pulled the plug on a new Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) website aimed at preventing the radicalization of youth after Muslim and Arab rights groups protested that it was discriminatory and would lead to bullying, bias and religious profiling of students. The interactive website (“Don’t Be a Puppet”) was created by the U.S. government as a tool for the nation’s schools to prevent susceptible youth from getting recruited online by terrorists. The stated goal is to combat a growing epidemic of violent extremism by keeping youth from falling prey to online terrorists.
But when the website first went live in early November, 2015 the same Islamic groups that have strong-armed federal and local law enforcement agencies into purging ant-terrorism training material considered offensive to Muslims, expressed outrage. The Obama administration promptly caved in and changes were made. One of the groups, the Muslim Public Affairs Council, issued a victory statement saying the website improperly characterized Muslims as a suspect community with targeted focus and stereotypical depictions that could exasperate the problem by leading to bullying, bias and religious profiling. The group also fired off a follow-up letter, signed by other Muslim rights advocates, suggesting the FBI stay away from schools. They claimed the original “Don’t Be a Puppet” site created a “dangerous precedent of FBI overreach into sectors of our society that are best managed by experts, like teachers, curriculum developers, and other educators.”
A few days ago the revamped, Muslim activist-approved version of “Don’t Be a Puppet” quietly went up on the FBI’s website and it omits any reference to Islamist extremism or Islam. It does, however, list other types of extremism such as white supremacy extremists, environmental extremists, militia extremists, religious extremists and anarchist extremists. The website defines violent extremism as “encouraging, condoning, justifying or supporting the commission of a violent act to achieve political, ideological, religious, social or economic goals.” A section that addresses why people become violent extremists claims there’s no single reason to explain it “but it often happens when someone is trying to fill a deep personal need.” As examples it lists those who may feel alone or lack meaning and purpose in life, those who are emotionally upset after a stressful event and people who don’t feel valued or appreciated by society or think they have limited chances to succeed.
© 2016 Judicial Watch, Inc.