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News / Nation & World

White House extremism summit will look broadly

The Columbian
Published: February 17, 2015, 12:00am

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. — A White House summit this week on countering violent extremism will not focus exclusively on threats from the Islamic State group, senior administration officials said Monday.

While the militant group, which has killed several Americans and others, poses a near-term threat, one of three officials previewing the summit Monday said violent extremists “come in all shapes and sizes.”

The three-day conference will highlight domestic and international efforts to prevent extremists and their supporters from radicalizing, recruiting and inspiring others, particularly disaffected young people. The conference is designed to share best practices and emerging strategies to prevent extremists from carrying out violent acts.

A series of deadly attacks have been carried out in Denmark, France, Canada, Australia and elsewhere before and after the White House announced the summit last month.

Vice President Joe Biden opens the summit Tuesday by meeting with representatives from Boston, Los Angeles and Minneapolis. The three cities have programs in place to counter extremism and one official said the White House wants to “push them forward” as examples for the rest of the country.

President Barack Obama is scheduled to address a gathering at the White House on Wednesday on how U.S. cities are dealing with these issues.

Obama will also deliver remarks Thursday at the State Department, where representatives of some 60 countries are scheduled to meet. The White House did not release the complete list of participating countries, though representatives from the United Kingdom, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait are expected to attend, one of the officials said.

Representatives from the private sector, nongovernmental organizations and social media companies also are scheduled to participate in the summit.

A series of announcements are expected during the meeting, but the senior administration officials who spoke Monday declined to provide any detail.

The officials previewed the summit under strict ground rules that they not be identified by name.

Obama was wrapping up a weekend stay in Southern California and returning to the White House late Monday.