The resignation last week of George Selim, a key Homeland Security official, might signal a shift away from treating the American Muslim community as partners in the struggle against radicalization, the Atlantic reports.
“There were clearly political appointees in this administration who didn’t see the value of community partnerships with American Muslims,” Selim, who resigned last Friday, told the Atlantic.
According to the Atlantic, the resignation might have been sparked in part by the departure of retired Marine General John Kelly, whom Selim believed understood the importance of outreach to Muslim communities.
Selim, a conservative Republican who many Muslim activists viewed with suspicion, worked the past two years as the founding director of the Office of Community Partnerships in the Department of Homeland Security – and as leader of the federal Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) Task Force.
He has served in both the Bush administration and under President Barack Obama as the National Security Council’s director for community partnerships, before returning to the Department of Homeland Security to lead the federal CVE task force effort.
But after the election of President Donald Trump, adviser Sebastian Gorka declared: “I predict with absolute certitude, the jettisoning of concepts such as CVE,” the Atlantic reported.
In May, Reuters reported Trump’s proposed budget would eliminate funding for the CVE task force by fiscal year 2018. Still, Selim considered staying on in the belief Kelly, then Homeland Security secretary, understood the importance of the CVE task force.
“Even Muslim groups that were critical of CVE felt they could talk to him, express their criticisms. They’re going to be completely cut off now. We won’t know what we had until it’s gone,” Zaki Barzinji, who served as the White House liaison to Muslim Americans in Obama’s final year, told the Atlantic.
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