Lucy Pasha-Robinson, Independent, May 3, 2017
Donald Trump has reportedly frozen $10 million (£7.7m) of grants destined to counter violent extremism in the US.
More than 30 organisations were pegged by former President Barack Obama’s office to receive funding, although the White House has since put the grants on hold pending review.
Among those approved were local governments, city police departments, universities and non-profit organisations fighting all forms of violent extremism in the US.
Former white supremacist Chuck Leek, who has since become a volunteer with Life After Hate – one of the organisations that was due to receive government funding – said the white supremacy movement was becoming more active.
“The white supremacist movement is far more active in the last six months than I have seen it in 10 or 12 years,” he told CBS.
He believes that if these organisations can help change even one person’s mind “it might be worth it, if that one person had been Dylann Roof or the Oklahoma City bomber.”
Nebraska Emergency Management Agency assistant director Bryan Tuma was also due to receive a grant to train mental health workers to recognise the signs of violent behaviour.
“We are told right now that those programmes are being reviewed,” he said.
“Our goal is to focus in on what are the barriers preventing people from reporting this kind of behaviour.”
The Trump administration was reportedly pushing to erase neo-Nazis and white supremacists from the US government’s counter-extremism programme in February by moving it to focus exclusively on Islamist terrorism.
American officials briefed on the proposed changes told Reuters the Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) initiative could be renamed “Countering Radical Islamic Extremism”.
The reclassification would remove its work combatting far-right attacks and mass shootings, such as the massacre of black churchgoers in Charleston, which are rarely classified as terrorism by American authorities.
The Independent has contacted the Trump administration for comment.