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Head of controversial Illinois CVE program resigns

Photo: Mary Zerkel / AFSC

CHICAGO, May 8, 2019 - The Arab American Action Network (AAAN) and the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), lead organizations of the Stop CVE-Chicago Coalition, received confirmation today from the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority (ICJIA) that Junaid Afeef, embattled director of the controversial Illinois Targeted Violence Prevention Program (TVPP), has resigned. 

TVPP is funded partially by a Department of Homeland Security CVE (Countering Violent Extremism) grant program, and for over two years, community institutions have been calling upon ICJIA to shut Afeef's program down.

Recently, the TVPP and Afeef had come under renewed scrutiny following a recent report published by AFSC and University of Illinois at Chicago researcher Nicole Nguyen, who exposed the shortcomings in the research that underlines CVE, and revealed it to be what community activists had insisted from day one-little more than a program that targets and profiles Arabs and Muslims under the guise of preventing extremism.

"Of course we're happy that Junaid resigned, but anyone who claims to be an advocate for Muslims or Arabs, anyone who has our best interests at heart, should never have taken that job to begin with," explained the AAAN's Muhammad Sankari. 

Mary Zerkel, Coordinator of Communities Against Islamophobia, a project of AFSC, added, "We are glad to hear of this development today; however, the program will continue to surveil and racially profile the Arab and Muslim community, so we continue our call for TVPP to be shut down completely."

For more information on the #StopCVE-Chicago Coalition, visit here.