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Homeland Security chief visits Minneapolis in 'listening mode'

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Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson says his visit to Minneapolis Friday was "an exercise in trust."

Johnson traveled to the heart of Minneapolis' Somali community to let local leaders know they're not alone in their struggle against extremist groups that are recruiting young Muslims to overseas battlefields, FOX 9 reports.

FOX says Johnson encouraged the community to be participants in public safety, saying “If you see somebody who may be headed in the direction of violence, someone disaffected, angry in some way, help us to help you in the community, I don't consider that snitching."

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Minneapolis' Somali-American community has asked for help countering the recruitment efforts of extremist groups and in September the Justice Department announced the Twin Cities are one of three metro areas where a pilot program designed to stem the flow of recruits to Africa and the Middle East is getting underway.

Friday Johnson took part in meetings and roundtable discussions with law enforcement and community leaders. WCCO reports he later underscored the point that national concern about terrorism starts at the local level, with neighbors getting involved before young people are recruited.

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Johnson tells WCCO he'll consider concerns that were raised about security profiling of Somali-Americans at the Twin Cities airport.

The director of the Somali Education Center in Minneapolis, Abdirizhak Bihi, was pleased with Johnson's visit, telling KARE 11 "We are very happy that we are getting the right attention."

KARE says Johnson is on a cross-country tour of areas that have been recruiting hotspots and says he's visiting them in listening mode.

The New York Times followed the secretary on a visit to Dublin, Ohio, last month, where Johnson heard from parents worried that alienated young people would succumb to the social media appeals of groups such as Islamic State.

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