MN to seek funding in White House summit on combating homegrown terrorism


At a White House summit this week, a Minnesota delegation will seek more money fight extremism while spotlighting local efforts already in place that strive to combat home grown terrorism.

MPR News reports that the delegation includes U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger, law enforcement officials and leaders of the Twin Cities Somali-American community. They will travel to Washington, D.C. for the event.WCCO reports they will seek funding for a program that intervenes to stop the radicalization of homegrown fighters who may go on to engage with terror groups overseas.

Luger did not say how much money he would request from a Department of Justice grant, but put the figure in the millions. He expects foundations and corporations will kick in additional funds.

KARE reports the Islamic State terror group, also known as ISIL, is seeking fighters by "attempting to seduce young Somali-Americans in Minnesota to join."

"It's not healthy for Minnesota to have that kind of activity in our backyard and we are all committed to stopping it," Andy Luger, U.S. Attorney for the Minnesota District, told the station.

The White House conference will allow cities to share their strategies on fighting terrorism at the grassroots level. Organizations from Minneapolis-St. Paul, Boston, and Los Angeles will spotlight their existing local programs for fighting radicalization.

Minnesota's delegation will seek funds for an expansion of social services primarily aimed at Somali-American youth. It would also pay for job fairs to increase hiring Somali-Americans in law enforcement agencies.

MPR's story noted that some Muslim leaders are cautious, if not skeptical, about the program. MPR quotes Abdisalam Adam, a Minneapolis mosque leader, who is one of eight Minnesota Somali-American professionals who will attend theWhite House summit.

"I don't trust completely," said Adam, a teacher in St. Paul. "Overall, there's a sense of caution, but we want to give it a chance."

The 15-member Twin Cities delegation includes St. Paul Police Chief Tom Smith, Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau, Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek, Minneapolis City Council Member Abdi Warsame, and nonprofit Ka Joog leaders Mohamed Farah and Abdi Farah.

The group will meet with Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday. On Wednesday, President Obama is expected to address more than 400 officials and experts working on counterterrorism.

Two men with Minnesota ties have died in Syria fighting for ISIS. Luger told WCCO that there are more like him, and there are still active recruiting efforts underway in Minnesota.

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