Somali community calls for expanded efforts to combat terrorist recruiting

Author:
Updated:
Original:

Members of Minnesota's Somali community condemned the recruitment of youth by terrorist groups overseas and urged collaboration to address the ongoing problem at a town hall meeting Sunday night.

Roughly 60 to 100 people attended the meeting at the Brian Coyle Community Center in Minneapolis as leaders called for an investment in the youths and the community to combat the radicalization of young Somalians.

Terrorist groups like the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (often referred to as ISIL, the Islamic State or ISIS) and al-Shabab have recruited dozens fighters from Minnesota, according to reports. In the last few weeks, several men with Minnesota ties have died fighting for ISIS, which led the FBI to launch a pilot program in the Twin Cities to combat terror recruiting in the U.S. Boston and Los Angeles are also part of the program.

Leaders of the Somali community said there's a need to create an environment where Somalis and other immigrants feel welcome and have the chance to succeed so they're less vulnerable to radical messages, reports say. They called for an investment in education, after schools programs, mentorship by older members of the community and partnerships with law enforcement, the Star Tribune reports.

Ilhan Omar, an activist, spoke out at the meeting saying fighting the radicalization of youths shouldn't focus on children, but high school-aged people who are facing an identity crisis about what it means to be Somali, Muslim and an American, the newspaper says.

U.S. Attorney Andy Luger, who also spoke at Sunday's meeting, said he plans to take community members with him to a meeting about terrorist recruiting at the White House in October.

“I want the people in Washington who will be sitting around the table with me to hear your voices,” Luger said Sunday, according to The Associated Press. “We’re never ever going to stop asking, demanding and making changes."

This embed is invalid

Mubashir Jeilani, 19, is president of the Cedar Riverside Youth Council (CRYC), which Mohamed Jama, 20, co-founded in 2007 to help fight terrorist recruiting, say the youth weren't well represented at the meeting, but hope their voices will be heard soon because they've experienced why their peers turn to terrorist groups, according to KARE 11.

"Our standard of living here is so bad that kids would rather join these terrorist organizations and go to their death," Jeilani told the station.

"The only way to combat ideology is with another ideology and that is: 'Hey, you graduated from high school, there are these opportunities for you. This is America, the land of the dream – take part of it," Jama told KARE 11.

The organization has a demonstration against terrorist recruitment efforts planned Tuesday. The group says the only way to influence and deter Somali youth from turning to terrorist organizations "is by investing in youth-led organizations," according to the CRYC Facebook page.

Next Up

vaccine, covid

St. Paul care home group will mandate COVID vaccines for staff

It comes amid reports of COVID outbreaks at homes where residents are all vaccinated, but staff are not.

Jail handcuffs arrest

Starbuck man charged with uploading, sharing child pornography

The 47-year-old was arrested after a tip from the National Center of Missing and Exploited Children.

ambulance

Boy, 11, seriously injured after 'fall' that police now suspect was abuse

It was initially reported that the boy slipped and fell.

police lights

Investigation underway after body found during welfare check in Plato

The identity of the deceased has not yet been revealed.

Mayor Brad Wiersum

'Please, please, please get vaccinated,' Minnetonka mayor pleads

This comes as the local state of emergency officially ends.

YouTube - Jeopardy screengrab minneapolis

Can you answer all the Minneapolis questions from this week's 'Jeopardy?'

KARE personalities including Randy Shaver and Rena Sarigianopoulos presented the clues.

Pexels - woman shop mask covid CROP

35 counties, including most of Twin Cities, now COVID hotspots

The CDC recommends everyone wear a mask in public, indoor places in these counties.

covid, coronavirus

CDC document: Delta variant as contagious as chickenpox

Vaccines remain very effective at preventing severe illness from the delta variant, however.

Flickr - smoke McGregor minnesota wildfire July 29 2021 - Lorie Shaull

'Unprecedented': The wildfire smoke isn't going anywhere this weekend

The air quality alert that was supposed to end Friday is now in effect into early next week.

Alexis Saborit

Charges: Woman killed in horrific Shakopee attack was trying to leave suspect

The shocking incident happened at an intersection Wednesday afternoon.

3M Open, Tony Finau

Multiple injuries after pickup crashes into shuttle bus at 3M Open

Blaine police listed 25 people as being involved in the collision.

Related