WASHINGTON (AFP) – Ministers from over 60 nations gathered Thursday to draw up an action plan to fight violent extremism, as top US diplomat John Kerry urged the world to “wage a new war against a new enemy.”
On the third and final day of a White House summit called by President Barack Obama after a series of brutal jihadist attacks around the world, delegates were to hammer out ways to combat the threat posed by radical extremist groups.
“We have to come together and ask what’s our strategy?” Kerry said, as he opened the summit at the State Department in the wake of shocking beheadings and murders by the Islamic State group (IS) in Iraq and Syria.
The first session would seek to answer why so many young people were flocking to join groups such as Al-Qaeda and IS, he said, “because you cannot defeat what you don’t understand.”
Even if it was easy to recognise how people can become marginalised and disaffected in their own communities, “it’s a huge leap between personal disquiet and committing murder, mayhem”, Kerry said.
Observers say some 20,000 foreign fighters have left their homelands to join extremist groups in the past few years – an estimated 4,000 alone from western Europe.