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• American Muslims are increasingly using the Web and social media to help counter violent extremism. Discussions with a number of Muslim leaders active in social media suggest that it is possibleto expand such efforts even further, and doing so is a major objective of the August 2011 White House strategy to counter violent extremism.
• While Muslim Americans play an active role in countering extremism, several factors may work to undermine higher-level engagement, including: low radicalization rates among American Muslims, negative perceptions of U.S.counter terrorism policies, a limited reservoir of leadership capacity and CVE funding (which preventseffective outreach), and being viewed as sell-outs to those most sympathetic to jihadi causes.
• In some cases, the First Amendment may limit U.S. government attempts to fund CVE programs of an ideological bent, but this restriction could ultimately benefit CVE discourse as it frees Muslim groups of the taint of government funding and prevents the government from having to “choose sides” in intra-Muslim discourse and debate.
• Both the U.S. State Department and the “think-do-tank” Google Ideas have initiated insightful programs that seek to build capacity and otherwise promote credible Muslim voices.
• Recommendations include desecuritizing efforts to counter violent extremism, addressing sources of mistrust within the Muslim community, focusing engagements and CVE education on social media influencers, building leadership and social media capacity in the Muslim community,enhancing private sector funding and engagement, and finding avenues to enhance government funding.