"Today, few threats are more urgent than the threat posed by
violent extremism," Attorney General Eric Holder said in a video
announcing the program.
The Department of Justice, the White House, and other agencies are
starting a series of pilot programs to bring together community
leaders, law-enforcement officials, and others to develop a strategy
to counter the threat, Holder said.
While existing programs have focused on community leaders, the new
programs will also include teachers and mental health and social
services professionals to provide more support and develop ways to
spot potential extremists, an official familiar with the program
The goal is to intervene before people become radicalized, said the
official, who declined to be named.
Law-enforcement authorities say they have had success in similar
efforts to counter gang violence, for example, by training teachers,
social services workers and others in what to look for and how the
President Barack Obama has made halting the flow of radicalized
Americans to foreign conflicts a part of his strategy against
Islamic State militants, which includes a military campaign to
ultimately destroy the group.
He said in a speech on Wednesday that authorities would offer
"tailored domestic programs to prevent violent extremism and
U.S. officials have estimated that as many as 15,000 foreign
fighters are operating in Syria, including 3,000 westerners and
around 100 Americans.
[to top of second column]
The U.N. Security Council plans to demand countries stop the
recruitment of foreign fighters by creating criminal laws
specifically against it, Reuters reported last week.
The draft resolution has been spurred by the rise of Islamic State -
an al Qaeda splinter group that has seized swaths of territory in
Iraq and Syria and declared a caliphate - and al Qaeda's Syrian
wing, Nusra Front.
(Reporting by Aruna Viswanatha; Editing by David Storey and Mohammad
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