Community Cohesion and Countering Violent Extremism in the United States: A Case Study of Metro Detroit

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Virginia Tech


Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) programs and policies are being developed and implemented across the country. CVE is being criticized by various community leaders and members due to its inherent criminalizing nature as it is currently put into place by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). By exploring the various meanings of community in a multicultural community, various processes and practices can come to be analyzed as ways to prevent violent extremism without oversight from the DOJ and the DHS. Metro Detroit is a multicultural community that experiences statistically low levels of radicalization of community members who legitimize violent extremism. Even such cases can be delegitimized when considering the circumstances in which they exist. When examining the community cohesion that exists in Metro Detroit through various organizations, especially interfaith organizations, it becomes apparent that there is a strong attempt to create a cohesive community. The argument is not that community cohesion automatically leads to the absence of violent extremism, but that community cohesion builds relationships and practices so that potential causes for violent extremism can be addressed, lessened or diminished. It is suggested that the support of strengthening community cohesion in terms of CVE be dismantled from the DHS and the DOJ. Restructuring would best be supported as a joint effort between the Department of Education, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, all of which are better equipped to deal with the causes of violent extremism.



community cohesion, Metro Detroit, Countering Violent Extremism