Skip to main content

Youth group wants $4M state cash to stop Somalis becoming extremists

  • Author:
  • Updated:

Youth group leaders want millions of dollars in state cash to fund activity programs designed to keep Minnesota's young Somalis out of the clutches of extremist groups.

The Associated Press reports that Somali youth group Ka Joog are asking for $4.35 million of state cash spread over two years, which it says would keep at-risk Somali youths in Minnesota's public school system occupied through arts initiatives, workforce training and after-school programs.

Speaking to a Senate policy and budget meeting on Thursday, Ka Joog executive director Mohamed Farah said: "It's an issue that we must come together to combat. It's an ideology issue, and we must fight ideology with an ideology."

International extremism is a concern for state lawmakers, made even more so this week by the incidents seen in Paris, as at least 22 Minnesotans are thought to have gone to Somalia over the past eight years to fight for terrorist network al-Shabab.

Also, in November, two Minnesotans were charged with attempting to aid the Islamic State in Syria, one of whom was stopped at Minneapolis-Saint Paul airport, while the other is believed to have made it to Syria.

Millions already pledged to fight terror recruitment in Minnesota

A formal request for the cash has yet to be put to state lawmakers, AP says, but if it was approved further down the line, it would mean a significant amount of money would be put towards combating extremism in the state.

The $4.35 million would be in addition to a federally-funded Department of Justice pilot program running in Minneapolis and St. Paul also focused on the Somali population, which is being led by Minnesota's U.S attorney Andrew Luger.

Luger is preparing to announce next month his action plan for the program, designed to prevent a rise in extremism among the 30,000 Somalis living in the Metro, that will center on job training and community engagement with those at risk of recruitment. Ka Joog has said it would look to spread workshops to other cities in Minnesota.

The Somali Press notes that youths are being targeted via social media channels via extremist propaganda, and calls on families to be more vigilant and aware of what their relatives are doing online.

Ka Joog, which already runs a number of events and workshops designed to help Somali-Americans in Minnesota, said that unlike the DOJ pilot, it would look to spread its own programs outside of the Metro area, to other cities in Minnesota.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2022-01-28 at 5.04.00 PM

David Arquette gives shoutout to MN's F1rst Wrestling on James Corden show

The Hollywood actor wrestled at at a F1rst Wrestling show at First Avenue in early 2019.

Best Buy - jjbers, Flickr

6 charged in Black Friday mass thefts at Twin Cities Best Buys

The group stole from three Best Buy stores that afternoon, the charges say.

Nicollet County Bell Jan 2022 4

Thieves steal large bell from rural MN church, don't get far with it

The bell was found in a ditch with tow ropes around it.


COVID: More help coming to Minnesota hospitals, Walz says

More than 200 medical professionals are coming to help at short-staffed hospitals.

Screen Shot 2022-01-28 at 9.04.12 AM

Suspect arrested after falling asleep in vehicle at rest stop

The man was sleeping in a stolen vehicle in the parking lot of an I-94 rest area.

DOminos pizza flickr mr blue maumau

Charges: Edina man threatened to shoot up Domino's Pizza

He claimed a delivery driver had flipped him off, the charges say.

carvana vending machine

Carvana seeking to build vehicle vending machine in Twin Cities

The online car dealership submitted a letter of intent to buy land in the metro to build a fulfillment center.

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah

Coller: New Vikings GM Adofo-Mensah needs to be ruthless

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah needs to make some big, difficult decisions, writes Matthew Coller.

Patrick Graham

Report: Vikings to interview Giants' Patrick Graham for head coach

Graham coached with the Patriots under Bill Belichick for six years.

floor and decor screengrab

Home brand plans 'flagship' store in Maple Grove AMC Theater space

This will be the company's first Minnesota location.


Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Friday, January 28

The state is still in the process of catching up with 10,000 yet-to-be processed tests.

Bryan Acuna

Twins sign 16-year-old brother of Braves star Ronald Acuna Jr.

Bryan Acuna is one of the top international prospects, according to