A four-star U.S. Air Force General on Monday said the U.S. would only begin to stop the Islamic State's recruiting efforts when moderate Muslim voices around the world stand against the terrorist acts being carried out by the group.
"I think that I sign up to a broad series of works and thought which says, when we get moderate Muslim voices coming from the mosques that speak out against these atrocities that we see in ISIS and others, that will help us with recruiting," General Philip Breedlove told reporters at a Pentagon briefing.
"It's hard to address recruiting until we begin to address those hearts and minds, and I believe that that starts with those good moderate voices of Muslims across not only Europe but the United States and other parts of the world," he said.
Breedlove, who serves as commander of the U.S. European Command and the Supreme Allied Commander of Europe for NATO Allied Command Operations, indicated that moderate Muslim voices could help block the Islamic State's effort to recruit lone-wolf terrorists. He said lone-wolf operators are difficult to track, since by definition they are not part of a network that might be easier to track.
The United States and other nations have been on a higher state of alert for solo operators since a Muslim convert killed a guard in Canada. Last week, the Obama administration announced it would step up security around federal buildings in response to the Islamic State's effort to radicalize people over social media.
Breedlove told reporters Monday that people fighting on behalf of the Islamic State are finding their way back to Europe from the Middle East.
"[T]his is a problem because we have many nations who have multiple fighters in the area who are being radicalized, and then we're going to face them when we come home,' he said. "[I]t is a problem because the foreign fighters generated there come back to Europe."