State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf said that the United States faces threats from extremism aside from Islamic radicalism, but couldn’t name any specific examples and argued that it was “simplistic” to argue that there is a “common thread” between terrorist attacks in Nigeria, Australia, and France on Monday’s “Kelly File” on the Fox News Channel.
Harf stated that Islamic extremism is “not the only kind of extremism we face. I would recommend folks to looking at this administration’s counterterrorism record, I would remind people that more terrorists who claim to do acts of violence in the name of Islam have been taken off the battlefield in this administration than under any previous one because of our counterterrorism operations and our efforts that we’ve put in place. But that’s not the only way that you counter this kind of extremism, much of it Islamic, you’re absolutely right, but some of it not, so we’re going to focus on all the different kinds of extremism with a heavy focus on people who do this in the name of Islam, we would say falsely in the name of Islam, but there are other forms of extremism that are also important.”
When asked what other forms of extremism were “particularly troubling and compelling to you right now,” Harf responded, “well, look, there are people out there who want to kill other people in the name of a variety of causes. Of course, Martha, we are most focused on people doing this in the name of Islam. As we’ve talked about with ISIL, part of our strategy to counter this extremism is to have other moderate Muslim voices stand up and say ‘they don’t represent our religion.’ They speak for their religion more than we do, certainly and we need those voices to stand up in addition to all the other efforts we’re undertaking.”
Harf was then questioned on whether she believed there was a “common thread” between recent acts of terror in Australia, Nigeria and France, Harf argued “that’s a little overly simplistic to be honest with you, Martha. If you talk about Boko Haram, yes, they claim to be active in the name of Islam, but you count counter them very different way [than] you counter a sleeper cell like we saw in Paris, or in Sydney or how you counter AQAP [al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula] or al Qaeda core. How you talk about these groups is different, in terms of combating them, based on where they are, and the threat they pose, and how you fight them, really.”
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