L.A. Offered Federal Grant to Combat Extremism That Some Say Will Lead to Targeting of Muslims
Los Angeles lawmakers are wrestling with whether to accept a federal grant to counter extremism, a move that critics believe would lead to targeting Muslims.
The debate has roiled City Hall, where dozens of people turned out Tuesday to urge city officials to turn down the money. Some shouted angrily from the crowd as an aide to Mayor Eric Garcetti told lawmakers that the money would fund programs to combat Islamophobia and hatred and provide culturally appropriate services to help communities.
Los Angeles is poised to get $425,000 from the Department of Homeland Security under the Countering Violent Extremism program. Under the federal grant, L.A. would enter into contracts with local groups to foster “proactive efforts to build healthy communities,” address hate and promote youth leadership, according to a city report.
The plan alarms the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California and other groups that argue that the federal program, initiated under the Obama administration, has only become more worrisome under President Trump. ACLU staff attorney Mohammad Tajsar said it was “fundamentally flawed.”
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