(CNSNews.com) - Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen M. Nielsen addressed the International Homeland Security Forum in Israel on Tuesday night, telling the gathering of homeland security officials from multiple nations that “we are engaged in a generational struggle against Islamic militants.”
“From Ottawa to Berlin, our communities are now on the frontlines,” Kirstjen said. “All countries represented here have experienced this evil in one form or another, whether your nationals have been victims or your homelands have been hit directly.”
“But let me be clear: This isn’t petty crime. This isn’t a mere public safety problem,” she said. “We are at war. And we must respond accordingly.”
“Victory in this struggle begins with moral clarity,” she said. “If we lose sight of who we stand against or what we stand for, then we will certainly lose the fight.”
“So all of us in this room,” she said, “must remember we are engaged in a generational struggle against Islamist militants, the preeminent terror threat to our lives, our livelihoods, and our way of life.”
Nielsen went on to say that these Islamist militants had “perverted a major religion” and that they were seeking to “establish a totalitarian empire.”
“This menace takes many forms,” she said. “Whether it is global jihadist groups such as ISIS and al Qaeda and their legions of digital followers, or the proxies of rogue nation states such as Iran, our enemies have perverted a major religion to justify horrific violence and lust for power.”
“Their goal is to establish a totalitarian empire governed under a backwards and repressive worldview,” she said. “And the danger they pose is at its highest point in decades.”
Nielsen argued that like the struggles against “communism and fascism,” this current struggle was also “a war of ideas.”
“Finally, we must come together to counter and defeat the evil ideology fueling terrorist movements worldwide,” she said.
“Make no mistake—this is a war of ideas, not unlike the struggle against communism and fascism,” she said.
“Terrorists are using a corrupted worldview to unify their ranks, recruit new followers, and incite violence,” she said.
“So we must expose the poverty of their ideas, the naked hypocrisy of their actions, and the fallacy of their message,” she said.
Nielsen, who earned a bachelor’s degree from the Georgetown School of Foreign Service and graduated from University of Virginia Law School, was chief of staff at DHS when retired Gen. John Kelly served as secretary. When Kelly became White House chief of staff, she served as his deputy there. She was sworn in as secretary of DHS last December.