Logo SAVE - Sisters against violent extremism

05. April 2012

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US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Reuters

A Look Back at Hillary Clinton's Smart Power Approach to Counterterrorism

“WHY extremists always focus on women is a mystery to me. But they all seem to. It doesn’t matter what country they’re in. They want to control women. They want to control how we dress, they want to control how we act, they want to control everything about us” stated Hillary Clinton last February while attending the international summit on Syria taking place in Tunis.

This response came after a young Arab woman had asked Clinton’s opinion on the hijab. During the past year, the Secretary of State has extensively advocated for what she calls ‘Smart Power’ in counterterrorism, and repeatedly stressed on the importance of women in the prevention of violent extremism.

During an inspiring speech at the John Jay School of Criminal Justice in September 2011, she stressed on the crucial role that civil society and the private sector must play in countering terrorism. She also mentioned SAVE as part of the civil society groups that are actively working to prevent violent extremism:

“Groups such as Sisters Against Violent Extremism, a group of women in 17 countries around the world who have risked their lives to tell terrorists that they are not welcome in their communities. They have written newspaper articles in Yemen, held workshops for young people in Indonesia, brought Indian and Pakistani women together to show a united front. These women know they will not stop extremism everywhere, but they refuse to sit on the sidelines.”

Clinton also highlighted that local authorities and civil society are often much better positioned than governments to prevent terrorist attacks from taking the lives of innocent civilians. Sisters Against Violent Extremism strongly shares Clinton’s beliefs. We turn to female community leaders, women and mothers in particular, to counter violent extremism and build a safer future for their families, communities and countries.  


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