Members of the Somali community in Minneapolis met with U.S. Attorney Andy Luger for community conversation Saturday. It's not the first time Luger has met with the Somali community -- he also met with them after the ISIS indictments came down.
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Luger plans to keep the conversation going as part of a pilot program to fight radicalization by mobilizing the entire community. This time, Luger mostly listened and took notes. His message at this meeting was simple.
"We need to know each other," Luger said. "We need to know what we do, what we stand for, what we believe in."
Community leaders gathered at a mosque to share how they were taking on the root causes of radicalization.
"We work with a lot of young, East African men doing soccer programs."
The consensus was that more programs are needed such as a new West Bank athletic club to keep Somali youth engaged in their futures. Luger told leaders that his office would work to find more funding, but would stay out of running any programs because some leaders see his interest as a way to spy on Somali youth.
"To answer one of the concerns that some people raise, who for some reason have chosen not to like me, I'm not going to run your program," Luger said.
The meeting stayed civil and ended with hope, exactly what so many young Somali-Minnesotans need right now.