ABU DHABI (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the shooter who attacked Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford an "extremist", and said people worldwide should reject radical ideologies.
Clinton, speaking on Monday in the United Arab Emirates, made the comment in response to a question about the September 11, 2001 attacks, carried out by al Qaeda.
A student at a town hall-style meeting asked why U.S. opinion often blames the entire Arab world for 9/11. Clinton said this was due to misperceptions and the media impact of political violence.
"We have extremists in my country. A wonderful, incredibly brave young woman Congress member, Congresswoman Gifford, was just shot by an extremist in our country," she added.
"We have the same kinds of problems. So rather than standing off from each other, we should work to try to prevent the extremists anywhere from being able to commit violence."
The U.S. government has charged the 22-year-old suspected shooter with trying assassinate Giffords by shooting her in the head during a rampage that killed six people and wounded 14 in Tucson, Arizona.
The shooting has fueled debate about extreme political rhetoric in the United States after an acrimonious campaign for congressional elections in November.
Clinton, who said she hopes her current trip to the Gulf will help to strengthen U.S. and Arab mutual understanding, said both societies should work to offset the sometimes overly loud voices on the political fringes.
"The extremists and their voices, the crazy voices that sometimes get on the TV, that's not who we are, that's not who you are, and what we have to do is get through that and make it clear that that doesn't represent either American or Arab ideas or opinions," she said.
(Reporting by Andrew Quinn; Editing by Andrew Hammond and Peter Graff)