Islamic and civil rights groups in Boston and two other cities spoke out Thursday against a federal government initiative to counter violent extremism, saying it unfairly targets the nation's Muslim communities.
Boston, Los Angeles, and Minneapolis were chosen last fall as sites for the program known as Countering Violent Extremism, which is designed to reduce the risk of young people being recruited by extremist groups. The organizations that convened Thursday on City Hall Plaza — including the Council on American-Islamic Relations Massachusetts Chapter, the Muslim Justice League, and other social justice organizations — said the federal program is pocked with shortcomings.
"There's no evidence programs like this are effective," said Liza Behrendt, organizing consultant for Jewish Voice for Peace, an antidiscrimination group. "It's a federal program that singles out Muslim communities and reinforces false notions of the link between Islam and terrorism."