Claremont Islamic school turns down $800,000 federal grant to combat extremism

You no longer have to question which side of the terrorism of the fence the Bayan Claremont Islamic Graduate School is on, in the fight against terrorism.  It is clearly in support of terrorism, extremism and jihad.  This private school has decided NOT to take an $800,000 grant from the Federal government to oppose terrorism—in fact in 2016 it requested the grant.  Now that is was awarded to them, they are turning it down.  For those that financially support Claremont, once a quality school, this school is working hard to make UC Berkeley look responsible.

“At the time of the application, Turk said he anticipated objections from some in the Islamic community because the government’s efforts to counter violent extremism has been focused on Islamic groups.

But Turk and others on Bayan Claremont’s board believed those concerns would be outweighed by the good the grant could do.

“But, Trump poisoned the well,” Turk said. The new president’s travel ban for citizens of the predominantly Islamic countries of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen was an overshadowing event.”

Translated that means those in charge of this school have no problem with importing terrorists from foreign countries.  They are upset that President Trump is trying to stop this.  Just a few miles from Claremont is the sight of the San Bernardino massacre by terrorists—wonder if Claremont is reaching out to the families of those victims as it tries to add new terrorists to our community?

Military Ceremony in Gaza

Claremont Islamic school turns down $800,000 federal grant to combat extremism

By Jim Steinberg, The Sun, 2/13/17

CLAREMONT >> An Islamic graduate school here has turned down an $800,000 U.S. Department of Homeland Security grant to counter violent extremism.

“We have and will continue to work with our government where there is no conflict of interest, but given the anti-Muslim actions of the current executive branch, we cannot in good conscience accept this grant,” the board of trustees of Bayan Claremont Islamic Graduate School said in a statement.

The award, announced in the final days of the Obama administration, was based on a proposal submitted in summer 2016 by Bayan Claremont, operating as a division of the Claremont School of Theology, for a two-year project called “Flourishing Communities.”

“It is a whole lot of money,” Jihad Turk, the school’s founding president, said in a telephone interview Monday. “It has been a very trying last couple of weeks.”

Located on the campus of the Claremont School of Theology, Bayan Claremont started with three students in 2011 and now has 53, he said.

Of the total grant, $250,000 was to go to 20 nonprofits in the Los Angeles area to support whatever projects the groups were doing for underserved communities without regard to religion, Turk said.

At the time of the application, Turk said he anticipated objections from some in the Islamic community because the government’s efforts to counter violent extremism has been focused on Islamic groups.

But Turk and others on Bayan Claremont’s board believed those concerns would be outweighed by the good the grant could do.

“But, Trump poisoned the well,” Turk said. The new president’s travel ban for citizens of the predominantly Islamic countries of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen was an overshadowing event.

That, coupled with news reports that the Countering Violent Extremism program will be renamed the Countering Islamic Terrorism program, led the Bayan Claremont board to reject on Friday the grant.

“We concluded that the story of why this money was being accepted would be lost in the noise surrounding the program,” he said. “It would be an issue of perception.”

Rev. Kah-Jin Jeffrey Kuan, president of the Claremont School of Theology, said that his institution stands with Bayan Claremont.

“If we are serious about creating a different kind of world, then people of different religions need to respect one another and do what is best for society,” he said.

Under its current name, Countering Violent Extremism is a “code” singling out people of the Islamic faith, Kuan said.

Advertisement

The two other affiliates of Claremont School of Theology — The Academy for Jewish Religion California in Los Angeles and the University of the West, a private Buddhist school in Rosemead — also stand with Bayan, Kuan said.

Homeland Security Department officials did not respond Monday to a request for a comment about Bayan Claremont’s decision. Three other non-governmental organizations outside of California also declined the grants.

The Department of Homeland Security issued a notice of funding opportunity on July 6, 2016, announcing the new Countering Violent Extremism Grant Program, the first federal grant funding available to non-governmental organizations and institutions of higher education, and others, to help fund anit-violent extremism programs.

The city of Los Angeles received two grants, totalling $825,000 under the program.

Carl Marziali, press secretary for L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, said in an email that the grants support “community-led programs aimed at strengthening our values of inclusion, promoting civic engagement and youth development, and offering interventions for individuals who may be on a destructive path.”

He did not respond to questions about Los Angeles possibly declining the grant’s funding. Los Angeles has not received the funds yet, he added.

Abed Ayoub, spokesman for the Washington D.C.-based American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, said that “cities have an obligation to their residents not to accept this grant money.”

The organization has been against the Countering Violent Extremism program since its inception and is prepared for a legal battle with Trump, depending what changes are made, he said.

Announced in July 2016, the Countering Violent Extremism Grant Program was designed to “provide state, local and tribal partners and community groups — religious groups, mental health and social service providers, educators and other NGOs — with the ability to build prevention programs that address the root causes of violent extremism and deter individuals who may already be radicalizing to violence,” according to the Homeland Security website.

Turk said Bayan Claremont is working to raise money from donations that would replace the lost federal funds.

 

About Stephen Frank

Stephen Frank is the publisher and editor of California Political News and Views. He speaks all over California and appears as a guest on several radio shows each week. He has also served as a guest host on radio talk shows. He is a fulltime political consultant.