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Homeland Security

US, Global Partners Seek Support to Fight Extremism

by Pamela Dockins February 16, 2015

When it comes to fighting violent extremism, the 'government does not have all the answers,' a senior U.S. administration official said Monday, as he outlined plans for a White House summit to build new efforts against extremists.

The three-day gathering begins Tuesday in Washington. It will include high-level officials from dozens of countries.

U.S. officials say the goal is to empower communities to push back against violent extremism. They say during the summit organizers will highlight U.S. community programs that have been established in Boston, Los Angeles and the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.

The summit comes on the heels of some high-profile extremist attacks. In January, Islamist militants killed 17 people in and around Paris, beginning with an attack on the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine, which has angered many Muslims by publishing caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.

In Copenhagen, Danish intelligence chief Jens Madesen said investigators believe a gunman who killed two people in attacks on Saturday was inspired by Islamic radicalism. Also, Islamic State militants on Sunday released a video showing the beheading of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians in Libya.

'Countering violent extremism is one piece of a much broader strategy to confront groups such as Islamic State,' said a senior administration official in a background briefing Monday.

The summit will include sessions to highlight domestic and international efforts to prevent extremist groups from inspiring and radicalizing individuals in the United States and abroad. Participants also will work to identify steps to more effectively counter violent extremism.

Progress report expected

Organizers will review progress made since President Barack Obama issued a call to action against extremism last September at the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

'We must take concrete steps to address the danger posed by religiously motivated fanatics, and the trends that fuel their recruitment,' Obama said at the U.N. 'This campaign against extremism goes beyond a narrow security challenge.'

The summit will include speeches by Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry. A senior administration official said a number of policy initiatives are expected to be unveiled during the sessions.

On Thursday, Kerry will host ministerial-level sessions at the State Department, which will include remarks by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh and African Union Peace and Security Commissioner Smail Chergui.

White House officials said participants will review their progress against extremism at the 2015 U.N. General Assembly.

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