Thursday, February 19, 2015

Biden Plays the "Fear Card": Sites Amnesty to Prevent Extremism


U.S. Highlights Importance of Immigrant Integration in Preventing Extremism

WASHINGTON – U.S. Vice-President Joseph Biden has emphasized the importance of promoting the integration and inclusion of immigrant communities to prevent radicalization, especially among youth, at the start of a three-day extremism summit organized by the White House in Washington.

“We are a nation of immigrants and our strength is that we are a melting pot,” said Biden, speaking at the White House on Tuesday.

Sixty countries and UN bodies are participating in the summit which ends Thursday.

“I am not suggesting that America has all of the answers here; we are just a lot more experienced,” said Biden in reference to Europe, which has witnessed a string of terror attacks in recent months.

The vice-president, who recently traveled to Brussels and met top European leaders there on the issue, declared that the discussion in Europe revolved around what is to be done now to contain extremism.

“There has been a significant amount of immigration into Europe from all over the world; it is a newer phenomenon,” he observed.

On a day dedicated to talks on national efforts against extremism, Biden moderated a panel discussion on pilot programs implemented in the U.S. cities of Minneapolis, Boston and Los Angeles to stem the radicalization of young people, mainly in immigrant communities.

In 2013, two bombs exploded during the popular Boston Marathon in an attack blamed on two young immigrants from a Muslim-majority region of Russia, while Minneapolis-St. Paul, which has the highest density of Somalis in the United States, has become a recruiting ground for the Al-Shabaab, an Islamist terrorist group based in Somalia.

“Today’s summit is urgent and essential,” said Alejandro Mayorkas, deputy secretary at the Department of Homeland Security, while introducing Biden.

“Events in Australia, Canada and most recently in France, Belgium and Denmark underscore the significance of the challenges we face in countering violent extremism,” he added.

The recent mass beheading of 21 Coptic Christian hostages by the Islamic State in Libya has ensured that efforts to tackle the rise of the militant group are also discussed in the summit.

However, the White House has emphasized that it does not want the meeting to be dominated by Islamist extremism and especially the IS, but to have a wider focus and speak about vulnerable populations who are susceptible to extremist recruitment and radicalization within the U.S. as well as in other countries.

On Wednesday, the White House will hold several panel discussions on the prevention of extremism among women, young people and religious communities before U.S. President Barack Obama joins in.

On Thursday, the president will once again join the summit along with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as it moves to the State Department.

The role of the governments around the world in the fight against violent extremism and the role of social media in the recruitment strategies of radical organizations are some of the matters that will discussed on the last day of the summit, the White House said. 


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