Minnesota Sends Delegation to White House Summit

by Alida Tieberg

A Minnesota delegation of law enforcement and Somali community leaders will continue their discussions at a White House summit in Washington D.C. today on combating the recruitment of terrorists in the United States, according to news sources.


Leaders from Los Angeles and Boston will also be in attendance at the summit.


Minnesota is home to the largest Somali population in the United States, according to CBS Minnesota.


The group will discuss ways to stop extremists from recruiting for terror groups. CBS reported that a large number of American Somalis from Minnesota have tried to join ISIS fighters in Syria in the past 15 months and according to the FBI more than 20 have been found guilty of terrorism charges.


U.S. attorney for Minnesota Andy Luger said he thinks extremists in Minnesota are currently recruiting for terror organizations, and that new federal programs for children and job engagement will help deter recruitment, the CBS Minnesota report said.


Luger also wants to implement intervention teams in Somali communities to help spot and stop radicalization before it advances, the report said.


Some members and organizations of the Somali community, such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), worry that a new federal program will only amount to the federal government spying on their private lives, a Star Tribune report said.


“Allowing the federal criminal prosecutor and law enforcement agencies to engage in social services and organize mentorship and after-school programs — only in the Muslim community blurs the line between community outreach and intelligence gathering,” CAIR executive director Jaylani Hussein told the Star Tribune.  


Luger and federal agents have reiterated that the new programs will not include spying on mosques or stigmatizing Muslim children in schools, according to the Star Tribune.