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Clinton touts anti-terrorism plan on Minneapolis stop

MINNEAPOLIS -- It's about inclusion, not exclusion, the leading Democratic candidate for president said Tuesday afternoon. Former secretary of state and first lady Hillary Clinton said community building was a key tenant in her plan to combat the...

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Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks about homeland security and domestic radicalization before a group at the McNamara Alumni Center at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis on Tuesday. Scott Takushi/Pioneer Press

MINNEAPOLIS -- It’s about inclusion, not exclusion, the leading Democratic candidate for president said Tuesday afternoon.

Former secretary of state and first lady Hillary Clinton said community building was a key tenant in her plan to combat the radicalization of American Muslims during her speech at the McNamara Alumni Center at the University of Minnesota.

Clinton drew several standing ovations while speaking about the successes of the Twin Cities area in combating extremism -- especially with the substantial Somali community in Minneapolis.

“There are millions of peace-loving American Muslims, living, working, raising families paying taxes in our country,” she said. “These people are probably our first, last and best defense against radicalization.”

Minnesota has long been targeted by groups such as al-Qaeda and Somalia-based al-Shabaab. The work of community leaders needs to continue, Clinton said, particularly because American Muslim children have been targets of mistrust by their peers.

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“One of the (Somali) community leaders I met with told me that a lot of the children in the community are afraid to go to school,” she said. “They are not only worried about being perceived as a threat, but they are also being threatened.”

The Building Community Resilience pilot program -- a partnership to combat radicalization between law enforcement and community leaders in the Twin Cities -- has been successful, Clinton said, but needs more financial and political support.

Community building is one of five pillars of Clinton’s “360 approach” to combating radicalization and increasing homeland security. Others include supporting law enforcement efforts, stopping the flow of would-be jihadists from entering and leaving the U.S., disrupting terror plots and shutting down ISIS recruitment in the United States, particularly online.

Clinton called for the federal government to reach out to tech companies to intensify their efforts of eliminating jihadist content on social media platforms and the Dark Web.

“The tech community and the government have to stop seeing each other as adversaries and start working together against terrorists,” she said.

Ahead of Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz’s visit to St. Paul on Thursday, Clinton took a dig at the rhetoric laid out by GOP candidates -- including the Texas senator’s comments calling for a large-scale bombing campaign against ISIS.

“Shallow slogans do not add up to a strategy,” she said. “Bluster and bigotry are not credentials for being commander-in-chief.

“Promising to ‘carpet bomb until the desert glows’ doesn’t make you sound strong, it makes you sound like you’re in over your head.”

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Several Republicans are calling for an international coalition to combat terrorist hotbeds in the Middle East, but Clinton said the anti-Muslim rhetoric coming from GOP frontrunners is counterproductive to that effort.

“It’s imperative that the Saudis, the Kuwaitis, the Qataris and others stop their citizens from supporting” radical Islamists, she said. “Insulting potential allies doesn’t make it any easier.”

Domestically, Clinton also highlighted the importance to gun control. Her call to ban assault rifles drew the loudest, longest standing ovation of the day.

“Republicans say gun control is a separate issue,” she said. “But terrorists use guns to kill Americans, and I think we should make it a lot harder for them to do that… I’m not going to let the gun lobby or anyone else tell me that’s not the right path.”

Related Topics: CLINTON
Robb Jeffries (he/him) is the Night Editor for InForum.com and The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. Robb can be reached at rjeffries@forumcomm.com.
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