from the have-we-come-to-this? dept.
Are you, your family, or your community at risk of turning to violent extremism? Now you can find out as The Intercept reports that a rating system devised by the National Counterterrorism Center titled "Countering Violent Extremism: A Guide for Practitioners and Analysts,” lets police, social workers and educators rate individuals on a scale of one to five in categories such as: “Expressions of Hopelessness, Futility,” “Talk of Harming Self or Others,” and “Connection to Group Identity (Race, Nationality, Religion, Ethnicity).” The ranking system is supposed to alert government officials to individuals at risk of turning to radical violence, and to families or communities at risk of incubating extremist ideologies. Families are judged on factors such as “Aware[ness] of Each Other’s Activities,” as well as levels of “Parent-Child Bonding,” (PDF) and communities are rated by access to health care and social services, in addition to “presence of ideologues or recruiters” as potential risk factors. A low score in any of these categories would indicate a high risk of “susceptibility to engage in violent extremism,” according to the document. Users of the guide are encouraged to plot the scores on a graph to determine what “interventions” could halt the process of radicalization before it happens.
Experts have suggested that intervention by law enforcement or other branches of the government in individuals’ lives, particularly young people, based solely based on the views they express, can potentially criminalize constitutionally protected behavior. “The idea that the federal government would encourage local police, teachers, medical and social service employees to rate the communities, individuals and families they serve for their potential to become terrorists is abhorrent on its face,” says former FBI agent Mike German calling the criteria used for the ratings “subjective and specious.” Arun Kundnani questions the science behind the rating system. “There’s no evidence to support the idea that terrorism can be substantively correlated with such factors to do with family, identity, and emotional well-being," says Kundnani. "“It is obvious that, in practice, [this] would mostly only be applied to Muslim communities."