Minnesota mosques, Muslim orgs raise concerns with anti-terror recruitment pilot

Nearly 50 mosques, Muslim organizations and student groups have signed a statement that highlights concerns with a federal pilot program to combat radicalization and terror recruitment in Minnesota.

"While we support the right of all Americans to live in democratic communities free of violence, we cannot in good conscience condone or help refine programs that are fundamentally discriminatory and are likely to further subject our community members to additional civil rights abuses," said the statement released by the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

The statement lists 44 Muslim organizations as undersigned supporters, as well as the National Lawyers Guild.

Alternative plan suggested

"It is our recommendation that the government stop investing in programs that will only stigmatize, divide and marginalize our communities further," the statement said.

The groups instead suggest the following framework to combat extremism:

The statement also calls on Congress to investigate the federal government's "overbroad surveillance of mosques and American Muslims, absent evidence of criminal activity."

Community Resiliency Program

This Justice Department pilot program is designed to combat the recruiting of young men and women for terror by getting at root causes, like unemployment and a lack of opportunity. Other programs were started in Los Angeles and Boston, but Minnesota is the program everyone is watching. That's because as many as 40 people have left Minnesota since 2007 to fight for al-Shabaab in Somalia and ISIS in Syria.

"There is a very sophisticated and persuasive message coming from overseas, that you have a better life, a more meaningful life, fighting overseas for terrorists," U.S. Attorney Andy Luger said.

Luger wants to combat that message in several ways.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Minnesota is reviewing the statement released by CAIR regarding its pilot program.

Organizations listed on CAIR letter of concern
Read a complete copy of the letter at http://bit.ly/1I3DfD9