Somalis hope to fight homegrown extremism with new community center

The consensus among local Somalis is there's not enough help available to keep children away from Islamic extremism by giving them the bright future so many think they deserve.

It's no secret that young men from the Minneapolis Somali community have been recruited to join terrorist groups.

More -- Pilot program to fight ISIS, Al Shabaab recruiting

For the Confederation of Somali Community in Minnesota's Mohamud Noor, it's all about having positive adult influences.

"The individuals who have left who we know or those who intended to leave, almost all of them didn't have... somebody who can play as a role model for them, somebody [to] guide them, keep them in check," he says.

The Somali confederacy believes "keeping them in check" needs to start right away with education, from early childhood development onward.

Success in school is a good start to success in life, and right now, that's not happening.

Bosteya Jama works with Somali teens, and sees a big opportunity gap for Somali students.

"When we only have 11 percent of the kids who are in tenth grade succeeding [up to a level of proficiency] in math, that's a big problem," Bosteya says. "We talk to the kids about whether they need help and every kid's mentioning that they need after school programs."

The Somali confederacy is planning a one-stop shop community center -- education, mental health, social services -- everything under one roof. But to get that done, they need help from the state, county, and school districts, and whether they'll get it as a bit unclear.

The total cost is projected to be about $2 million. Help could come from the Department of Justice or Homeland Security.

If funding does come together, the Somali confederacy plans to open up the new community center at as as-of-yet-undisclosed location next fall.

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