The FBI has designed an unusual game-style website about extremism meant to be used by teachers and students to help the agency spot and prevent radicalization of youth, say Muslim and Arab advocacy groups who fear it will foment discrimination against Muslims, the Washington Post reports. The FBI characterized the program, which appears to be the first aimed at schools, as one that will keep youth from falling prey to online recruiting by terrorists. Members of some Muslim and Arab advocacy groups invited to preview the effort complained that despite being described as combatting “violent extremism,” it frames the topic heavily through the lens of Islam and will lead to profiling of Muslim youth.
The Web site, called “Don't Be A Puppet,” was scheduled to go live yesterday but has been was put on hold. The FBI said it is “developing a website designed to provide awareness about the dangers of violent extremist predators on the Internet, with input from students, educators and community leaders.” The community groups said the FBI called several people to a meeting. The bureau described its plan for “Shared Responsibility Committees,” which the Muslim and Arab participants said are proposed groups of community leaders and FBI representatives who could discuss cases of specific youths. Participants said they were concerned about that concept, which they perceive as institutionalizing an informant system, and complained to the Department of Justice. That program was put on hold last week, according to participants. “It seems like they're asking teachers to be extensions of law enforcement and to police thought, and students as well. That was very concerning to us all,” Hoda Hawa, director of policy and advocacy for the Muslim Public Affairs Council, said of the site.