White House sets delayed anti-extremism summit

11 Jan

How about ‘first’ admitting there’s such a thing as Islamic terrorism…just saying…

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In the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris last week, the White House has scheduled an anti-extremism conference that was originally set for last October but was postponed without explanation.

In a statement issued as many world leaders gathered in the French capital Sunday to express solidarity with France and to vow renewed efforts to fight violent Islamic radicalism, the White House announced that its summit on the issue of homegrown terrorism will take place next month.

“On February 18, 2015, the White House will host a Summit on Countering Violent Extremism to highlight domestic and international efforts to prevent violent extremists and their supporters from radicalizing, recruiting, or inspiring individuals or groups in the United States and abroad to commit acts of violence, efforts made even more imperative in light of recent, tragic attacks in Ottawa, Sydney, and Paris,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement.

Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson first announced the summit in September, as concern was growing about the threat posed by the Islamic State movement and by that group’s recruitment of fighters in the West. Johnson said the high-level meeting would take place the following month.

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However, it did not. In the lead-up to the midterm elections, White House spokesmen repeatedly refused to discuss the reason for the delay or even to confirm on the record that it had been postponed.

Last week’s shooting rampage at a satirical French weekly and hostage-takings at two other sites in Paris refocused attention on the danger of so-called homegrown extremists carrying out attacks far from the places in the Middle East and Africa where such violence is more common.

Earnest said Sunday that the conference would address efforts being taken in the U.S., as well as promoting cooperation with similar work abroad.

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“Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) efforts rely heavily on well-informed and resilient local communities.  Boston, Los Angeles, and Minneapolis-St. Paul have taken the lead in building pilot frameworks integrating a range of social service providers, including education administrators, mental health professionals, and religious leaders, with law enforcement agencies to address violent extremism as part of the broader mandate of community safety and crime prevention,” he said.

“At the same time, our partners around the world are actively implementing programs to prevent violent extremism and foreign terrorist fighter recruitment.  The summit will include representatives from a number of partner nations, focusing on the themes of community engagement, religious leader engagement, and the role of the private sector and tech community,” the White House spokesman added.

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