At White House summit on extremism, thinking beyond military action to root causes

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    President Obama again warned today of the growing threat of extremism around the world at a White House-sponsored conference, and he urged the global community to do more to stop it.


    Countries have a responsibility to cut off funding that fuels hatred and corrupts young minds and endangers us all.


    The president shifted his focus overseas today before an audience of ministers from around the world. He placed special emphasis on the role democracy plays in fighting terrorism, a theme often heard from his predecessor, George W. Bush.


    When dissent is silenced, it feeds violent extremism. It creates an environment that is ripe for terrorists to exploit. When peaceful democratic change is impossible, it feeds into the terrorist propaganda that violence is the only answer available.


    Mr. Obama also urged leaders to expand human and religious rights as they confront extremist ideologies from groups like Islamic State, also key, fostering economic and educational opportunities for young people who may be receptive to the militants' call.

    Delegates from 65 countries also heard from U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.

  • BAN KI-MOON, Secretary-General, United Nations:

    We will never find our ways by discarding our moral compass. We need cool heads. We need common sense, and we must never let fear rule.


    He pressed for alternatives to purely military responses.

  • NASSER JUDEH, Foreign Minister, Jordan:

    It is all about education, education, education, opportunity, opportunity, opportunity, empowerment, empowerment, empowerment.


    Jordan's foreign minister, Nasser Judeh, vowed his country will lead the fight against extremists, a role that has stepped up since the execution-by-burning of a Jordanian pilot by Islamic State.


    If anyone had any doubt about the brutality and barbarism of these extremists, then this doubt has been removed. If anyone had any doubt that this is our war as Muslims and our collective war as an international community, that doubt has been removed.


    And as Europe reels from a spike in homegrown terrorism and its own citizens leaving to join Islamic State and other groups, the French interior minister highlighted the different pathways leading people toward extremism, including social media.

  • BERNARD CAZENEUVE, Interior Minister, France (through interpreter):

    The profile of terrorists and potential terrorists is very diversified now. Many have access to the Internet and learning on the Internet. They go abroad and they are trained to kill when they come back to Europe. They go from criminality to terrorism. In prison, they have contact with extreme terrorists.