Frequently Asked Questions about CVE

“Countering violent extremism” or “CVE” is a catch-all phrase that is commonly used to refer to programs that aim to reduce the appeal of ideologically motivated violence that furthers social, political and economic goals. The term was popularized in 2011, however today, public and private sectors around the world utilize this term to reference a range of programs.

Everything we do at WORDE is not necessarily related to CVE, however, given the broad nature of the term, we created an informal list of frequently asked questions to clarify how our work intersects with this issue.

What are examples of violent extremism?

Violent extremism, or ideologically motivated violence, is a term that can apply to a wide range of actors and movements including the anti-state sovereign citizens, nationalist militia groups (e.g. KKK and related groups), issues-based extremists (e.g. targeted assassination of abortion providers), ideologically linked gangs, and self-proclaimed Muslim violent extremists (e.g. ISIS, al-Qaeda, and Al-Shabab).

Across the spectrum, these groups utilize similar recruitment methodologies and grooming tactics to radicalize and exploit individuals. As a result, WORDE advocates a holistic interdisciplinary response to developing interventions to mitigate the threat of violent extremism.

What are some examples of CVE programs?

CVE programs differ in scope, and whom they impact. The following are some examples of programs that could be categorized as “CVE initiatives” —

  • Interfaith community service initiatives that promote social harmony and challenge extremists’ messages of intolerance and hate.
  • Creative arts programs that provide a positive, constructive outlet for people to express their grievances through art and advocacy.
  • An upstander training program to improve communities’ capacity to support individuals who may be struggling with marginalization, distress and more.
  • Educational programing to inform communities about the nature of radicalization and mobilization to violence
  • Online safety seminars to inform students about the threat of online predators (including sexual predators, gang recruiters, and violent extremist recruiters).

How does WORDE’s programing differ from others?

There are many distinguishing factors that make WORDE’s program distinct from the federal government’s approach:

  • WORDE’s effort was initiated in 2013 and therefore preceded the federal government’s CVE efforts, which were launched in 2014.
  • The program utilizes a community-led approach in which a non-governmental organization, WORDE, facilitates partnerships across public and private sectors, with the support of public agencies.
  • Unlike the federal government’s approach in cities such as Minneapolis, that focus largely on engagement and outreach with one ethnic and religious group, WORDE’s model involves diverse faith and ethnic communities. As a result, we utilize an “all-of-community” approach that reduces stigma of any single faith or ethnic community.

Who is impacted by CVE programs?

When considering all the different programs implemented in the US, no two programs are the same. Some programs, like the one the federal government piloted in Minneapolis in partnership with NGOs founded by the Somali-American community, are focused on engaging and empowering one specific ethnic community that has been targeted by recruiters. Other programs, like the one established by the NGO, Life After Hate, feature former extremists from neo-Nazi and white nationalist backgrounds and therefore only focuses on preventing that type of violent extremism.

Taking a different, holistic approach, WORDE’s approach has been on educating the broader public about radicalization to all types of violent extremism. This approach is based on the understanding that recruiters – regardless of which ideologies they use to justify violence – use the same tactics to manipulate individuals. In other words, because this is a problem that could potentially affects any community, WORDE’s framework engages multiple faith and ethnic communities in our prevention programs.

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