Debating CVE

Engagement with Law Enforcement, Harm or Benefit?

CVE (Countering Violent Extremism) is a government program that seeks to stamp out violent extremism by providing resources to targeted communities to build and sustain on-the-ground prevention efforts. Since its initiation, CVE has become a topic of contention among politicians, critics and scholars. Is CVE effective, or does it unfairly place responsibility upon specific groups (often American Muslims) to prematurely detect terrorist activity? Contrasting viewpoints leave American Muslim communities wondering whether or not they should engage with law enforcement on CVE measures.

On this page, ISPU compiled resources about Countering Violent Extremism efforts and how they impact the Muslim community, showcasing multiple perspectives. This collection includes resources that range from a guide by CLEAR on what to do when approached by law enforcement on community outreach and engagement, to a PBS NewsHour segment.

A panel of experts debating CVE

DISCLAIMER: ISPU does not endorse any of the positions presented on this page; rather, this collection is meant to help inform the public and present them with varying sides of existing arguments.

The Debate

Because the issue of CVE engagement is both complex and relevant, affecting American Muslims across the country, ISPU hosted a debate at the September 2016 ISNA convention in Chicago: Debating CVE: Engagement with Law Enforcement, Harm or Benefit? The debate, moderated by Mehdi Hasan from Al Jazeera, featured Sahar Aziz, Dawud Walid, Muqtedar Khan and Kamran Bokhari. These scholars discussed the relative harm or benefit of engaging with the U.S. government on CVE. This session provided a platform for thought leaders to present arguments from both sides of the issue, in the process informing members of the American Muslim community to make knowledgeable decisions regarding their engagement with CVE. To be clear, the debate focused on engaging with law enforcement on voluntary programs and not on reporting criminal activity to the authorities should it become known, which was not in question.


Sahar Aziz

Sahar Aziz


Dawud Walid



Kamran Bokhari

Muqtedar Khan

Muqtedar Khan

Post-Debate Coverage + Announcements

Al-Madina logo

Alejandro J. Beutel with Asma Shah and Mimi Yu in Al-Madina Institute | November 29, 2016

Alejandro J. Beutel with Mimi Yu & Asma Shah in Patheos | November 1, 2016

Sahar F. Aziz in The New Arab | September 26, 2016

Al-Madina logo

Mohamed Ghilan in Al-Madina Institute | September 13, 2016

Al-Madina logo

Dawud Walid in Al-Madina Institute | September 7, 2016

New York Times logo

Ron Nixon in The New York Times | September 4, 2016

On September 9, 2016, ADC, CAIR, and a number of other organizations issued a statement indicating the organizations won’t be applying for the DHS CVE grants.

ADC issued guidelines for organizations applying for CVE grants. Although the organization does not encourage CVE engagement, it wants folks who are applying to be knowledgeable.

CVE Engagement Resources

Featured Thought Leaders

OP-Eds, Commentaries, & Blogs

Overview Resources


Imam Mohamed Magid, the executive religious director of ADAMS Center in Sterling, Virginia, explains how he’s prevented people from joining ISIS.

Professor Muqtedar Khan explains Countering Violent Extremism (CVE).

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