White House backs program to help at-risk Somali youth in Minnesota

Minneapolis, Minn. (MNN) – A quarter of United States ISIS recruits have come from Minnesota, according to national statistics.

The state’s large Somali community is often targeted by terrorist recruiters.

At least 15 Somali-American men from Minnesota have left home to enlist with ISIS, and now five are awaiting trial right now. That’s why the White House is backing a public-private pilot program which has raised nearly one million dollars to help at-risk Somali youth in Minnesota. The nonprofit Youthprise has an after school program.

Ten percent of the students at Minneapolis public schools are Somali, and they struggle to fit in. Unemployment among Somalis is around 21-percent, about three times the rate for the general population. Students report being called terrorists and other names. Community leaders agree that stamping out anti-Muslim stereotypes is a priority.