Strong Cities Network will foster collaboration to fight violent extremism, US attorney general says

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Four U.S. municipalities are participating in a new group, the Strong Cities Network, which aims to fight violent extremism through international collaboration between cities.

In an address to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch joined with other world leaders to announce the global network, according the New York Observer, the New York Times, Al Jazeera America and Justice Department press releases here and here. New York City will participate in the network, which also includes Atlanta, Denver, Minneapolis, Paris, London, Montreal, Beirut and Oslo, according to the Strong Cities Network website.

“Through the Strong Cities Network that we have unveiled today,” Lynch said in prepared remarks, “we are making the first systematic effort in history to bring together cities around the world to share experiences, to pool resources, and to forge partnerships in order to build local cohesion and resilience on a global scale. Today we tell every city, every town, and every community that has lost the flower of its youth to a sea of hatred—you are not alone. We stand together, and we stand with you.”

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio appeared on a UN panel with Lynch, where he addressed concerns the collaboration will target law-abiding Muslims. De Blasio said the most powerful way to counter violent extremism is to address intolerance.

The network will conduct workshops and training, will offer online documents of best practices, and will offer grants for innovative initiatives. The U.S. State Department will provide funds through 2016, at which time charities are expected to take over funding.

Members of the network will join in the network’s first annual summit in Paris in spring 2016. The network will be led by a steering committee of about 25 cities and regions, and will be run by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, described in the press release as a “leading international ‘think-and-do’ tank” that fights violent extremism.

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