The State Department will commit a $200 million fund to combat growing Islamic extremism by thwarting specific dens of terrorism where the appeal of jihadist propaganda can be put to an end. The move follows recent terrorist attacks in Nairobi, Kenya, and Peshawar, Pakistan, where foreign jihadists attacked civilians and some Americans.
Secretary of State John Kerry and Turkey’s foreign minister unveiled the creation of a new fund, formerly called the Global Fund for Community Engagement and Resilience, at a meeting with diplomats Friday at the Global Counterterrorism Forum. The U.S. and Turkey lead the forum involving 29 countries and the European Union to breed ideas and execute action plans for civilian counter-terrorism specialists.
Hoping to undercut the root of the radicalization process, the fund aims to finance government and non-governmental organizations and community groups to identify individuals susceptible to terrorist appeals.
“It’s a different kind of challenge and we believe we need to intensify our efforts to address the underlying factors that lead down the path of violence,” Kerry said to foreign ministers. “It’s about building foundational security, challenging the narrative of violence to refuse to justify the slaughtering of people.”
The fund would provide grants for vocational training to youths vulnerable to recruitment by terrorist organizations, officials said. ”Getting this right isn’t just about taking terrorists off the street. It’s about providing more economic opportunities,” Kerry said.
Grants would also be funneled to schools to teach tolerance and problem-solving in new curriculum in the hopes of educating younger people about the dangerous repercussions of extremist ideologies.
Kerry also announced an additional $30 million toward combating global terrorism, and the construction of two counter-terror training centers in Abu Dhabi and Malta.
Officials said the fund is expected to be operational by the middle of 2014. The fund is expected to raise more than $200 million over a 10-year period.