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Udenrigsministerens indlæg ved ministermødet om anti-radikalisering den 19. februar 2015 i Washington, D.C.

Speech by Mr. Martin Lidegaard Minister of Foreign Affairs of Denmark, Washington, D.C. 19 February 2015 

Let me express my own and my fellow Danes’ deep gratitude for the outpouring of support from all over the world following the terror attacks this past weekend in Copenhagen. It is heart-warming and deeply appreciated by all of us. Thank You!

That shows that we are not alone in our grief and we are not alone in our response.

In Copenhagen two men were ruthlessly killed and five policemen wounded defending free speech and religious tolerance. In the atrocious attacks last month in Paris, many innocent people were killed or wounded for standing up in defence of those same values. In Africa, in The Middle East we have almost on a Daily basis seen horrific  acts of cruelty.

However horrific those acts are it is vital that our reaction live up to the very values we are defending. This is a challenge we should not underestimate. For it is difficult for modern man and modern society to deal with merciless cruelty of the dark ages by persons devoid of reason and compassion. But we must. Our response must be based on trust, not mistrust. We should react, but not overreact.

A “one size fits all” mind-set on our part may lead us to wrong assumptions and risk alienating large groups in our own societies and abroad, amplifying the problem. There is no universal remedy and no one stop solution.

Though the DNA of their backward thinking and actions are bound to lead to failure in the long run, much harm is done in the meantime. We must use the instruments that fit the challenge we face. Sometimes – fortunately very rarely – this means resorting to military means as many of us, including Denmark, have done in addressing the threat from ISIL in Iraq.

It is, however, clear that violent extremism must be approached from a holistic point of view and with a broad arsenal of tools, at home and abroad. We need to focus on how we can prevent persons from turning into terrorists in the first place. And how we can get them back on the right path once they have been drawn into a mindset of violent extremism.

It is, however, obvious that when a cruel ideology and the intent to kill are combined with the capacity to handle and use weapons you are faced with an imminent threat. This is why we need to address gangs and social marginalisation in all our countries. This is also why we need to address effectively the phenomenon of foreign terrorist fighters.

This is truly an area where we need to do more collectively and urgently. And I would like to use this occasion to urge for even stronger international cooperation for addressing this challenge collectively.
I am honoured to be here today for a discussion of these immensely important topics just days after terror hit my home country. I look forward to hearing the input and advice from everyone. I am happy to announce that today my government is launching a number of initiatives aimed at countering violent extremism at home. To help further an action agenda on countering violent extremism Denmark would also like to offer to host a follow-up Conference with focus on preventive efforts and rehabilitation.

Thank you.

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