WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The United States will work closely with Muslim American communities across the country to help prevent religious Americans from becoming radicalized, US President Barack Obama said during a speech at the global summit on Countering Violent Extremism in Washington, DC.
“We’re gonna increase our outreach to communities including Muslim Americans,” Obama said in his speech on Wednesday. “We’re gonna step up our efforts to engage with partners and raise awareness, so more communities understand how to protect their loved ones from becoming radicalized.”
The summit was organized following the recent wave of deadly attacks carried out by radicalized Muslim extremists in Europe and the Middle East, and numerous radicalized Muslims from the US and Europe leaving to join terrorist organizations like the Islamic State (ISIL) and Al Qaeda.
President Obama stressed that more resources will be needed to help prevent these communities from becoming radicalized and that as the US government does more to help prevent Americans from becoming radicalized, so will communities.
“If we’re gonna solve these issues then, the people who are most targeted and potentially most affected — Muslim Americans, have to have a seat at the table where they can help shape and strengthen these partnerships,” Obama said.
Obama also claimaed that countering violent extremism will involve more than military solutions and must include efforts to discredit terrorist ideology as well as address economic and political grievances that terrorists exploit.
“Countering violent extremism [is] something that is not just a matter of military affairs. By violent extremism we don’t just mean the terrorists who are killing innocent people, we also mean the ideologies, the infrastructure of extremists, the propagandists, the recruiters, the funders who radicalize and recruit or incite people to violence,” Obama said.
To isolate terrorists and dry up recruitment, Obama said leaders and communities must discredit the terrorist ideology and address economic and political grievances.
They should not only provide economic opportunities to young people, but also end corruption, improve institutions and promote democracy, the president stated.
Obama also said that in order to promote their violent ideology, extremists portray a “clash of civilizations” in which the West is at war with Islam.
“We are not at war with Islam. We are at war with those who have perverted Islam,” he said.
While Obama outlined a strategy to discredit extremist ideologies and address grievances, he said the United States would continue to use militarily means to strike terrorist groups like al-Qaeda and ISIL, which, he said, do not represent Islam.
President Obama organized the three-day summit to discuss domestic and international efforts to prevent violent extremism and terrorism. The summit covers key issues related to extremism, including radicalization, recruiting and motivation to commit violent acts, according to the White House.