Yesterday at the UN, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that New York City would join a global program set up by the federal government to "build social cohesion and resilience to violent extremism." What this actually means is anyone's guess.

The Times reports that de Blasio's staff spent "days deliberating whether whether the city should take part." This is likely because the actual aims of the Strong Cities Network are stupefyingly vague and agreeable enough to sound benign.

If you want to know exactly what goes on in Strong Cities, the program's website explains that Strong Cities will "facilitate systematic sharing of knowledge…raise awareness of existing policy…directly support cities to develop strategic frameworks…facilitate international partnerships…directly seed the development of new and innovative projects…provide a global platform to…"

Corporate cliches are evidently the most powerful weapons against extremism. If only Uber press releases existed in 2001!

The ACLU, the Arab-American Association of New York, and ten other organizations wrote a letter [PDF] to the mayor asking him to consider what these castrated verbs actually mean in practice [PDF]: more discrimination against people based on their religion and more unwarranted scrutiny of law-abiding citizens. Literally the opposite of what the program aims to achieve.

Perhaps de Blasio decided that the benefits of cooperating with federal authorities on this nebulous program outweighed any other concerns that come with blindly associating Muslims with extremism—besides, how could the NYPD do any worse in this arena?

"The most powerful way to counter violent extremism is to go to the core, the core is intolerance," the mayor said in his 16 minute speech. "When we address intolerance, when we undermine intolerance, in the process we undermine extremism and violence."

“While we appreciate the Mayor’s comments about the importance of diversity and inclusion in NYC, his announcement that our city is participating in the Strong Cities Network raises concerns because it opens the door to Countering Violent Extremism programs that we know to be counterproductive, violative of constitutional rights and stigmatizing," NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman said in a statement.