The Department of Homeland Security is jump-starting a $10 million Obama-era grant program aimed at “countering violent extremism,” but it is withdrawing funding from a group that combats white supremacists, Politico Playbook reports.
When former DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson announced the program just days before President Trump’s inauguration in January, he explained that 31 anti-extremism groups would be getting funding and “among the awardees are organizations devoted specifically to countering [the Islamic State’s] recruitment efforts in our homeland, and Life After Hate, an organization devoted to the rehabilitation of former neo-Nazis and other domestic extremists in this country.” The Trump administration, though, will not be giving Life After Hate the $400,000 grant the group had been promised under the Obama administration.
Whatever the reason, it isn’t for a lack of need. Life After Hate “has seen a twenty-fold increase in requests for help since Election Day ‘from people looking to disengage or bystanders/family members looking for help from someone they know,'” the organization’s founder, Christian Picciolini, told Politico. DHS did not comment to Politico when asked why Life After Hate’s grant was rescinded.
In February, though, five people briefed on relevant conversations told Reuters that the administration wanted to rename the “Countering Violent Extremism” grants as “Countering Islamic Extremism” or “Countering Radical Islamic Extremism.”
In June 2015, the nonpartisan New America Foundation think-tank concluded that “since 9/11, white right-wing terrorists have killed almost twice as many Americans in homegrown attacks than radical Islamists have,” Time writes. The Intercept reported in May that the news of the Trump administration’s intended swap of “violent extremism” for “Islamic extremism” specifically prompted the editor of the neo-Nazi Daily Stormer to gloat: “Donald Trump is setting us free.” Jeva Lange