Susan Rice: ‘Who Better Than a Mother to Spot Unusual Behavior in Her Child and Intervene?’

By Melanie Arter | February 19, 2015 | 10:58pm EST

US National Security Advisor Susan Rice (AP/Craig Ruttle/File)

( - In a speech at the White House Summit to Counter Violent Extremism, National Security Adviser Susan Rice on Thursday said part of the strategy to combat terrorism is training women - especially mothers - to recognize the signs of recruitment and radicalization in their own families.

“Who is better than a mother to spot unusual behavior in her child and intervene?” Rice asked. “Around the world, the United States is supporting projects to train women to recognize the signs of recruitment and radicalization in their families and communities and to devise prevention strategies.”

According to Rice, women and girls are critical in this effort, because they are “some of the most effective voices encountering violent extremism.”

“We’ll share more information about foreign terrorist fighters and secure our borders against extremists returning from conflict in places like Syria and Iraq,” she said.

Without mentioning the word Islam by name, Rice said violent radicalism can “take root” whenever someone has an “us against them” ideology.

“There’s no one path to violent radicalism. Extremism can take root wherever someone promotes an ideology of us against them. We have to guard against threats that spring from animosity towards any group - whether from anti-Semites, neo-Nazis, white supremacists or any hate group,” she said.

Rice warned against curtailing free speech, saying that offensive speech should be countered by “more speech.”

“We must always take care to protect human rights, including freedom of expression. We cannot advance our cause by suppressing ideas or curtailing speech. Offensive speech must be met with more speech, but there must also be a line between voicing objectionable ideas and incitement to violence and terrorism,” she said.

“President Barack Obama has requested nearly $400 million for the State Department to support a wide range of partnerships to counter terrorism, including projects to address violent extremism,” Rice announced.

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