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Muslim Groups Reject Funds to Fight Extremism, Cite Trump Rhetoric

WASHINGTON — A California Islamic school wanted to keep an open mind before Donald Trump took office. But less than a month into Trump’s presidency, the school rejected $800,000 in federal funds aimed at combating violent extremism.

The decision made late Friday night by the Bayan Claremont graduate school’s board to turn down the money, an amount that would cover more than half its yearly budget, capped weeks of sleepless nights and debate. Many there felt Trump’s rhetoric singling out Islamic extremism and his travel ban affecting predominantly Muslim countries had gone too far.

It also marked the fourth organization nationwide under the Trump administration to reject the money for a program created under President Barack Obama known as countering violent extremism (CVE), which officials say aims to thwart extremist groups’ abilities to recruit would-be terrorists.