Outside the State Office Building in St. Paul, a group of young men were snapping group selfies and smiling broadly. It was pure excitement as the Somali-Americans took a big step into American civics. They are with the group Ka Joog, and they had come to the Capitol to seek state funding for a vital cause — keeping the tug of foreign terror groups out of reach.
After an expected one million people demonstrated in Paris Sunday in a show of national unity against terror, it’s important to remember that terrorist groups are trying to recruit young, disenfranchised people in Minnesota.
A Somali youth group wants more than $4 million in state funding for workforce training, arts initiatives and after-school programs to fight international terrorist recruitment across Minnesota.
For several months, U.S. Attorney Andy Luger has been meeting with members of Minnesota’s large Somali community, and listening to their concerns.
President Barack Obama did not mention in his Wednesday night address the recruitment of Minnesotans by ISIS (or ISIL). There are reports that as many as 15 young men and women with Minnesota ties have left to join the terror group.
Douglas McCain was not the first Minnesotan radicalized and recruited to fight in a foreign land. In recent years, Minnesota has become a place where terrorist organizations recruit young people to fight jihad.
Al-Shabab uses Internet videos to convince Minnesota men to come back to Somalia. But now, a Somali youth group is fighting back with a documentary of their own.
Mohamed arah and other members of the Somali-American group Ka Joog have been working since 2007 to combat radicalism among Somali youth in Minnesota by providing positive alternatives through education, the arts and mentorship.
A member of a Somali-American youth group in Minnesota says the federal government should fund programs to prevent youth from being recruited into terrorist groups. Mohamed Farah is president of Ka Joog, a Somali youth group in Minnesota.
A YouTube video shows a Champlin Park High School teacher restraining a Somali student after the student had been in a fight with a classmate. Now members of the Somali community are questioning how the school district handled the situation — and are saying the teacher went too far.