Laila Alawa Hired by Obama to Department of Homeland Security Post- Truth! & Fiction!
Summary of eRumor:
Laila Alawa, a Syrian immigrant, was appointed to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Advisory Council ‘s Countering Violent Extremism Subcommittee.
Laila Alawa served on the DHS Advisory Council’s Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) Subcommittee — but this isn’t a new development and she wasn’t included in a final report released by the subcommittee in June.
DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson ordered the Homeland Security Advisory Council to establish the Countering Violent Extremism Subcommittee in November 2015.
The goal was for the subcommittee to serve as “an incubator of ideas” and to develop recommendations to help DHS support non-governmental organizations directly or indirectly work to counter violent extremism.
Laila Alawa was listed as a member of the subcommittee on the DHS website — and an article published by conservative pundit Tucker Carlson’s The Daily Caller under the headline, “Syrian Immigrant Who Said 9/11 ‘Changed the World for Good’ Is a Homeland Security Adviser.”
The report takes issue with this 2014 tweet from Laila Alawa about 9/11:
The Political Insider picked up the story under the headline, “Just After Orlando, Obama Hires Muslim Who Praised 9/11 FOR THIS JOB.” That story falsely made it appear that President Obama had “just” hired Laila Alawa for a DHS post and fueled outrage among conservative and right wing blog sites.
Even though Laila Alawa was listed as a member of the subcommittee on the DHS website, her name does not appear anywhere in an interim report that was released by the subcommittee in June.
Alawa, the CEO and founder of The Tempest, a media company that caters to young women, responded to her critics, and claims that she had “just” been hired in a blog post.
Of her work on the subcommittee and its interim report, Alawa wrote:
The report, focused on creating “just add water” solutions to counter extremists of all backgrounds and ideologies, went out this week, following the horrific Orlando tragedy and amidst the murky political election season we all know too well. We were working to “leverage outside expertise and new thinking to support and enhance, as well as assist in reframing and re-envisioning, where necessary the Department’s CVE efforts.” I worked to ensure that the future of America’s CVE programming focused on creating inclusive solutions that promoted a national sense of community and belonging, rather than isolation and alienation. The problem is – I wasn’t included on the final report. I was just noted on the DHS website, and that’s when things got horrific.
And in response to the tweet about 9/11, Alawa wrote:
Just like every American, 9/11 was a tragedy that hit close to home. I was 10 when it happened, living in upstate New York, and the event and ensuing aftermath left me – and the nation – reeling. So much so that it changed my career path for good – I now fight to ensure that every woman, no matter who or where or how she is, has a media outlet to find a space in. So in 2014, upon the anniversary of the attacks, I sent out a tweet, like I do every year, about the events that had transpired.
To put it in third grade terms, since everyone is pretending not to understand given what I wear on my head, believe as my faith, and identify as my heritage: The tragedies of 9/11 changed the world as we know it permanently. It’s up to us to make the world a more united place by having conversations, no matter our differences.
So, it’s true that Laila Alawa was once appointed to serve on the Homeland Security Advisory Council’s Countering Violent Extremism Subcommittee — but claims that she was “just” hired or that it was in response to the Orlando terrorist attack are false.
And it’s also true that Alawa tweeted about 9/11, but she has argued that her statements were misinterpreted and taken out of context.
Given all that, we’re calling this one truth and fiction.