Watch: Prof Says Community Resilience Programs Can Counter Terrorism

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School of Law Professor Sahar Aziz testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee, Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency in Washington, D.C.

In a hearing titled “Identifying the Enemy: Radical Islamist Terror,” Aziz offered her expertise on national security and the Middle East to Congressional members.

She argued that countering violent extremism (CVE) programs are fundamentally flawed for being counterproductive, unnecessary and a waste of government resources.

“As citizens and elected officials we have a responsibility to carefully examine whether the methods we are using to prevent terrorism are effective,” she said.

As such, Aziz recommended that government programs seeking to build community resilience are most effective when administered by social service agencies with the requisite expertise, not law enforcement agencies.

“The tens of millions of dollars spent on CVE programs are better spent on programs administered through social services agencies with the expertise to assist the multitude of American communities in need of job training, mental health services, domestic violence prevention, English language training, refugee resettlement, youth afterschool programs, tutoring and other services that promote safe and healthy communities,” she testified.

An expanded version of her testimony will be published with the Texas International Law Journal in spring 2017 as a follow-up to her article, “Policing Terrorists in the Community,” published in the Harvard National Security Journal.

Aziz said that, as a professor, it was a privilege to inform Congress about important public policy issues within her area of scholarship and research.

“As we observed in the recent presidential debates, the intersection of national security and civil rights is a topic of national concern,” she said. “I was honored to have the opportunity to use my expertise in this area to inform Congress on how to preserve our security without sacrificing our rights.”

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This article originally appeared on the  School of Law site.


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