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Legislators Call for $2 Million in Funding to Combat Terrorist Recruitment

Monday, February 8, 2016

SAINT PAUL, MN – House DFL Leader Paul Thissen, State Rep. Phyllis Kahn (DFL – Minneapolis), and State Rep. Yvonne Selcer (DFL- Minnetonka) are calling on the state legislature to build on efforts from last session to combat terrorism with a new $2 million investment in community-based programs that are already helping to stem the tide of terrorist recruitment in Minnesota.

After the release of Al Shabaab’s “Minnesota Martyers” video, KSTP 5 investigated terrorist recruitment in Minnesota and found the current funding level woefully inadequate. The report mentioned Ka Joog, which has been empowering youth through school programs, arts and cultural programs and job training. Those initiatives and their partnership with the White House, Justice Department and locally with U.S. Attorney Andy Luger are stemming the tide of Al Shabaab and ISIS terrorist recruitment in Minnesota. However, there are not currently enough resources available to maximize the potential of these programs.

Last session, Rep. Phyllis Kahn (DFL – Minneapolis) led efforts to provide $250,000 in funding to combat terrorism and funds to support community building programs like Ka Joog. Thissen, Kahn, and Selcer are calling on the legislature to build on that effort with a new $2 million investment in resources to help combat terrorism recruitment.

“Rep. Phyllis Kahn showed leadership in securing $250,000 in funding to combat terrorist recruitment and supporting programs like Ka Joog,” said Thissen. “We know that these programs are having a positive impact in our community and we should continue that progress.”

“The funding we approved this session is bolstering collaboration between community groups and government agencies in our work to combat terrorism,” said Kahn. “We must continue working to better understand the appeal and recruitment tools used to lure young men into terrorism and funding these community-based programs are a step in the right direction.”

“With our state’s $1 billion surplus, there is no reason we shouldn’t make a commitment to help at risk youth and to improve opportunities for them,” said Selcer. “This is an opportunity for us to work together stop terrorist recruitment in our communities and lift up youth by providing them opportunities to succeed.”

Current funding for the Countering Violent Extremism program in Minnesota totals $856,000. That consists of $250,000 from Minnesota, $216,000 from the Federal Government, and $390,000 from private donations. Ka Joog received $125,000 from the Legacy fund for workshops, mentor programs and community engagement events.

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