- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Wednesday the world is now confronting a “dangerous strain of extremism” within the Muslim community that presents a generational challenge to be waged on many fronts.

“The terrorist attacks in Paris, the foiled plot in Belgium are stark reminders of the threats we face together, like the shocking atrocities in Nigeria perpetrated by Boko Haram, the murders and hostage-taking in Sydney, the absolutely inhumane killing of scores of school children in Pakistan,” she said at an event in Winnipeg. “And it was only three months ago that your capital off Ottawa was targeted and we all held our breath on the other side of that border of ours.”

People watched as Canadians pulled together then, just as Parisians and other Europeans are doing now, she said.

The potential 2016 Democratic presidential contender said the battle is not just a matter of law enforcement or military action, but rather a contest of ideas — a contest not being waged against Islam or the vast majority of Muslims who are peaceful and tolerant people.

But, she said, “we can’t close our eye to the fact that at this time in our world history there is a distorted and dangerous strain of extremism within the Muslim world that continues to spread.”

“With these vicious few, we are confronting an ideology of hate — a worldview based on tearing down and dividing rather than building up and bringing together — based on a claim to absolute truth and total intolerance for the beliefs and rights of their fellow human beings,” she said.

Part of the solution includes crafting a strategy in the Middle East with an eye to this “battle of ideas,” and targeting “extremist propaganda” and how it’s used for recruitment, which includes international cooperation, she said.

“We have to show the world that free people and free market[s], human rights and human dignity, respect for our fellow men and women, is our core strength,” she also said.

Great democracies also have to set an example — which includes confronting questions over issues like economic inequality, she said.

“Last night, President Obama offered a vision for helping the middle class in the United States reclaim its seat at the table, and the proposals he offered are [an] important start for a critical debate,” she said. “There is so much more to do to bring security and possibility to families struggling with stagnant wages and sinking hopes, to restore comity and cooperation to our politics, to reform our broken immigration system, to re-stitch the fraying fabric of American life.”

Asked about several issues of the day during a question-and-answer session after her speech, she called for increased assistance to Ukraine in its ongoing dispute with Russia and, echoing Mr. Obama, said imposing additional sanctions on Iran could jeopardize ongoing talks over the country’s nuclear program.

She declined to offer an opinion on the Keystone XL Pipeline; Mr. Obama has vowed to veto legislation authorizing its construction as the White House deals with environmentalist groups that are opposed to the Canada-to-Texas project and labor unions that support it.

“You won’t get me to talk about Keystone, because I have steadily made clear that I’m not going to express an opinion — this is in our process and that’s where it belongs,” she said.

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