US Congress slams deadly attacks in France

20th January 2015, Comments 0 comments

US lawmakers Tuesday roundly condemned the recent attacks in France that killed 17 people, and called on governments worldwide to support free speech and counter violent extremism.

Hours before President Barack Obama's State of the Union address before both chambers of Congress, the Senate and House of Representatives each unanimously passed a resolution condemning the bloody attacks in Paris.

The resolutions extend sympathies to all those impacted by the attacks on the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine's office in Paris and a kosher market in the capital city.

"With this condemnation also comes a commitment to stand with France and our allies in confronting the grave threat radical Islam poses to our security and way of life," House Speaker John Boehner said.

"We must rise to this moment."

The resolutions also call upon countries to join a global effort to battle violent extremist ideologies and terrorist groups.

The Senate text slammed the "cowardly" attacks, and noted the priority of "reaffirming fundamental freedom of expression" in their aftermath.

But the lawmakers' actions expressing support for France also highlighted the increasingly complicated effort to battle Islamist-driven extremism and the need to show resolve in the face of terror.

"The unfortunate reality is that these attacks in Paris are indicative of a resurgent terrorist threat from radical Islamist extremists," House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Ed Royce said in a statement.

"Our intelligence sharing with allies -- already strong -- will need to get sharper; border checks improved; and coalition efforts to destroy ISIS will need to be stepped up," he said, referring to the Islamic State extremist group.

House Democrat Eliot Engel told the chamber that while lawmakers "grieve with France, our oldest ally," the resolutions send a potent anti-terror message.

"Whether in Paris or New York, Moscow or Jerusalem, whether homegrown or imported, whether targeting Jews, Muslims, Christians, or anyone else, violent extremism has no place in a civilized world," he said.

© 2015 AFP

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