A U.S. government-backed program to thwart terror recruiting among Minnesota Somali-Americans with mentorship and job training programs was met with widespread accolades from backers, but also pointed criticism from some Muslims who say a push for social services in their community should not be spearheaded by a federal prosecutor.
"This is exactly what Somali community leaders asked us to do a year ago. We promised we would do it and we are now delivering on that promise," U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger said at a news conference. He was flanked by religious leaders, nonprofit representatives, law enforcement and elected officials to unveil the $900,000 Building Community Resilience project.
Launched in June 2014, the pilot program, formerly known as Countering Violent Extremism is one of three launched across the country, with the others in Boston and Los Angeles. After 14 months of listening sessions and consulting with nonprofits, Luger unveiled a series of proposed projects, paid for with $390,000 in private funding, $250,000 from the state and $216,000 in federal dollars.