U2 frontman Bono has laid out a wide-ranging plan to fix the Middle East and combat the Islamic State, including a scheme to send comedians Amy Schumer, Chris Rock and Sacha Baron Cohen to the region.

The Irish rock star told US congress that enlisting the help of the Hollywood actors would rob the nihilistic terror group of its power. "It's like, you speak violence, you speak their language. But you laugh at them when they are goose-stepping down the street and it takes away their power," Bono said. "So I am suggesting that the Senate sends in Amy Schumer and Chris Rock and Sacha Baron Cohen, thank you," he told the Senate subcommittee.

Bono, whose greatest hits include Beautiful Day, Sunday Bloody Sunday and I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For, urged US politicians to act before it was too late. "If you don't do it now, it's going to cost a lot more later," he said, commenting on cuts to overseas aid budgets. "This is unthinkable stuff, and you should be very nervous in America about it."

Bono said Africa in particular was battling three extremes: ideology, poverty and climate. "Those three extremes make one unholy trinity of an enemy and our foreign policy needs to face in that direction," he said. "It's even bigger than you think," he warned.

He also painted a bleak picture as he described the flood of people fleeing their homes in the Middle East, Asia and Africa. The human torrent threatens the very idea of European unity, he said, as he urged lawmakers to think of foreign aid as national security instead of charity.