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Most People who Join Violent Extremist Groups are in Search of Identity, or Purpose, or Power – John Kerry

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John KerryThe U.S Secretary of State, John Kerry on Tuesday said that most people who join violent extremists groups do so because they are in search of an identity, adding that they have no hope for the future, and no faith in legitimate authority.

He said this while giving a speech at the “Community Building and Countering Violent Extremism” event held at the Palace of the Sultan of Sokoto.

Kerry is currently in Nigeria to discuss U.S. cooperation with Nigeria over Boko Haram, economy and human rights issues.

He has held meetings with the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar, President Muhammadu Buhari, and the governors of some Northern states.

Kerry said condemning terrorists’ ideologies is not sufficient to win “the struggle for the future”, adding that nations ought to office hope to their citizens, and deliver on its promises.

“Now we have learned a lot about extremism in the last years. We obviously have been consumed by the fight against it since 2001, when out of the blue the attacks in New York took place. People join violent extremist groups for a number of different reasons – and some, obviously, do so against their will. But there are far too many who join the ranks of these organizations because they have trouble finding meaning or opportunity in their daily lives – because they are deeply frustrated and alienated – and because they hope groups like Boko Haram will somehow give them a sense of identity, or purpose, or power.

We see this in every part of the world – whether we are talking about the Lake Chad Basin or the Sahel, or a village in the Middle East or a city in Western Europe, it’s the same. When people – and particularly young people – have no hope for the future and no faith in legitimate authority – when there are no outlets for people to express their concerns – then aggravation festers and those people become vulnerable to outside influence. And no one knows that better than the violent extremist groups, which regularly use humiliation and marginalization and inequality and poverty and corruption as recruitment tools,” Kerry said.

Kerry added that to effectively counter violent extremism, military action has to be coupled with a reinforced commitment to values like integrity, good governance, education, compassion, security, and respect for human rights.

“So to start with, it is essential to build and rebuild trust in government, trust in the military, trust in law enforcement community, wherever that trust has been diminished,” he said.

Read the full speech HERE.

Photo Credit: Instagram/@buhari.sallau

9 Comments

  1. Bus

    August 24, 2016 at 2:27 pm

    …and what are you in search of? Two decades ago there was nothing like terrorism. Then, the West (US, UK all of them) decided to invade the peaceful midwest in search of whatever. In the process innocent lives where lost. And with arms easily available for people to vent there anger.

    The US and the others have themselves to blame for the current level of terrorism.

    I am a Muslim and I am not a terrorist.

    Forgive my grammar. I am still learning.

  2. fjb

    August 24, 2016 at 3:12 pm

    bus* you are so right. western countries like “Nigeria” and “Cameroon” really deserves to be punished. I get it. you are a good Muslim and can’t hurt a fly but the truth is that ain’t what your religion actually ask of you. The infidels must be killed except they are injured or something. lot and lot of hint about what should be done to those that believes God is wrapped in 3 folds,which sounds like the pillar of another religion. so instead of shifting blame,just admit that some of your brothers might just be interested in a Valhalla’s kind of afterlife.

    • Bus

      August 24, 2016 at 4:21 pm

      If that’s want you got from my message, no problem.

  3. James

    August 24, 2016 at 4:05 pm

    I honestly expected a better speech from Secretary Kerry than he gave.

    He is essentially saying that people who join groups like Book Haram do so because they are frustrated due to corruption in the country and lack of opportunities for employment, among others. Really?

    While we know Nigeria is a tough place to live, should we all start joining different extremist groups to create mayhem and maybe get the government’s attention? There are better ways to address grievances without killing people, if that is really what these people want.

    I feel that part of Mr. Kerry’s speech that speaks to showing compassion to killers will only embolden them and their sympathisers. What about the people that have lost their lives to these religious extremists and militants in the Niger Delta? Where is the compassion for them and their families?

    And how is the US dealing with terrorists both at home and abroad? Is the US not chasing these people wherever they are and killing them?

    I feel that Secretary Kerry coming to Nigeria to speak about showing compassion and love for killers who would love nothing but to overthrow our government and pillage the country for their selfish interest is not helpful. I feel that Nigerians need to speak with one voice and defeat these thugs who have no meaningful agenda for the country.

  4. Victor Will

    August 24, 2016 at 4:35 pm

    Is he trying to defend them, oga o! career politicians. Where is trump?

  5. Darius

    August 24, 2016 at 6:09 pm

    @Bus, shut up! What do you know about world events? Are you trying to tell us that there was nothing like Islamic terrorism 2 decades ago until the US attacked Iraq? Let’s take a trip down memory lane. April 18, 1983, the US Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon was bombed by the Islamic Jihad Organization. Indonesia, 21 Jan., 1985, a Buddhist temple was bombed by Islamic terrorists. Spain- 1985, El Descano bombing by Islamic terrorists. In Egypt, Feb., 1990, A bus carrying Isreali tourists was attacked by the Islamic Jihad Organization, the list goes on. Do u know that America waged against Iraq in the early 1990s to stop the annexation of another Islamic country, Kuwait, by Iraq. America attacked a christian country, Serbia, to prevent genocide against Albanians in Kosovo, who are predominantly muslims. Stop spreading a misinformation. Islamic terrorism started long ago. It didn’t start because America attacked certain countries in the Middle East. Many sunni muslim countries in the middle east, Bahrain, Kuwait, etc invited the Americans to open military bases in their countries because they are afraid of another muslim shia country, Iran. Just agree that there is something inherently wrong with Islam. Islam encourages violence. America is also responsible for the rise of Boko Haram and other terrorists groups? Something is wrong with you. Instead of you to condemn these terrorist groups, you are trying to find a way to justify their creation.

    • Factual

      August 25, 2016 at 1:36 am

      @Darius ….If there is something inherently wrong with Islam then your records on terrorism should go back 1400 years……because that’s how long Islam has existed. And it means that the world should’ve encountered world wars because of Islam by now but as u know it world war 1 and 2 were not commandeered by Muslims. Neither was the holocaust….but conveniently those genocides are called political.

      It’s all historic notoriety…..it’s just the time for Islam to be named as notorious. Once upon a time it was Germans because of Hitler…..people always look for blame instead of a solution.
      During the formation of the Anglican Church and Protestantism there was genocide, all in the name of being self righteous and sanctimonious.

      These issues are rooted way back from the middle eastern Israeli -Palestinian conflict that goes way back. Coupled with the problem of dictatorship regimes in these various countries.
      He is right about how terror is recruited and it is research based info. Instead of learning you’re getting emotional. To bait a monkey first you must understand how a monkey behaves.

      Many Out there venting are just emotional bigots who are adding no value but looking for someone to blame to make themselves feel better about their own beliefs…….many of us interact with at least one Muslim a day and go back and forth to Dubai and we are still here so how do you define an entire group by actions of these morons?

  6. Darius

    August 24, 2016 at 6:11 pm

    …America waged war…

  7. Darius

    August 24, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    …. America waged war….

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