White House Deputy National Security Advisor Denis McDonough said late on Sunday that preventing radicalization in the United States is part of a larger strategy to defeat al-Qaeda.
“Preventing radicalization that leads to violence here in America is part of our larger strategy to decisively defeat al Qaeda”, said McDonough in his remarks at the ADAMS Center in Sterling, Virginia.
In a speech titled “Partnering with communities to prevent violent extremism in America”, he added that “overseas, because of the new focus and resources that the President has devoted to this fight, the al-Qaeda leadership in the border regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan is hunkered down and it is harder than ever for them to plot and launch attacks against our country”.
“Because we’re helping other countries build their capacity to defend themselves, we are making it harder for al Qaeda’s adherents to operate around the world”, noted the US official.
McDonough mentioned that over the last several months and again later this month in New York City, John Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, “will continue to outline the steps we are taking-across our government-to keep America and our communities safe and secure, including from the threat of al Qaeda and its adherents”.
“Here at home, we’ve strengthened our defenses, with improvements to intelligence and aviation screening and enhanced security at our borders, ports and airports. As we have seen in recent attempted attacks, al Qaeda and its adherents are constantly trying to exploit any vulnerability in our open society”, he added.
McDonough noted that at the same time “we are confronting the broader challenge of violent extremism generally-including the political, economic and social forces that can sometimes lead people to embrace al Qaeda’s murderous ideology.
This includes challenging and undermining the twisted ideology-the political propaganda-that al Qaeda uses to recruit, radicalize and mobilize its supporters to violence”.
“President Obama recognizes that through our words and deeds we can either play into al-Qaeda’s narrative and messaging or we can challenge it and thereby undermine it. We’re determined to undermine it”, he added.
McDonough affirmed that the United States has “strengthened alliances and partnerships with Muslim-majority nations around the world, from Turkey to Indonesia” and also undermined “al-Qaeda’s ideology by exposing the lie that it is somehow defending Islamic traditions when, in fact, al Qaeda violates the basic tenets of Islam. The overwhelming majority of al Qaeda’s victims are Muslim”.
“We undermine al Qaeda’s ideology by showing that it is the power of nonviolence and democratic change that leads to progress, not senseless terrorism. And now people across the Arab world are proving the point”, he added. “Put simply, we must do exactly what al Qaeda is trying to prevent. We must come together, as Americans, to protect our country in a spirit of respect, tolerance and partnership”, concluded McDonough.