It would take a heart of stone not to laugh.
Inside a south Minneapolis gymnasium, Somali teenagers play a game they love, under the watchful eye of a man they call Coach Ahmed.The first key theme—not enough Americans are reaching out to the "Somali Community," so whatever they do is your fault.
In the last decade, he's produced a championship team that for two years went undefeated, but Ahmed doesn't get paid, and has struggled to find a place for his kids to even practice.
“These kids, nobody helps them. We have Minnesota Youth Soccer Association, we have Minneapolis Parks and Recreation, we have school board,” he said. And none of them reached out to the Somali community.
[Pilot program to fight ISIS, Al Shabaab recruiting, by Tom Lyden, Fox9, February 15, 2015]
Ahmed now has a waiting list of 70 kids he must turn away — impressionable teenagers who, outside these walls, may well become prospects, for gangs, or worse, the terror recruiters.The second key theme—the only choices are more welfare and government programs for minorities or letting them join terrorist groups.
"How are you going to stop ISIS or Al Shabaab when you don't give an opportunity?” he questioned.
United States attorney Andy Luger believes mentors like Ahmed are the key to what he's calling a Community Resiliency Program which he'll unveil at a White House summit on Wednesday — a justice department pilot program to combat the recruiting of young men, and women, for terror, by getting at root causes here at home, like unemployment and a lack of opportunity. Other programs are being started in Los Angeles and Boston, but Minnesota is the program everyone will be watching.A State Department spokesperson was widely mocked for saying that the way to stop ISIS was by providing jobs. But she's just the tip of the iceberg.
Beginning in 2007, as many as 40 people have left Minnesota, travelling to Somalia to fight for Al Shabaab, and more recently, to Syria, to fight and die for ISIS.And the way to combat the existential appeal that speaks to the deepest cultural roots of a foreign community pointlessly imported into a hitherto Northern European culture is with crappy soccer games in a gym. (A sport, incidentally, that "no American whose great-grandfather was born here" bothers to watch.)
"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,” Luger said.
Luger wants to combat that message in several ways.The third key theme—by noticing patterns and protecting yourself from terrorism, you are increasing terrorism. Therefore, you should not use ethnic profiling and should increase concessions.
-Youth and after school programs
-Job fairs and job training programs
-Eliminate ethnic profiling at the airport.
-See more Somalis in law enforcement
-Increase engagement between religious leaders and youth.
“What I've heard repeatedly from relatives of young men who have traveled to Syria, is more connection between youth and religious leaders, more connection to the imams,” Luger said.I have no doubt the lives of young Somalis are "vibrant"—you can even watch their wacky hijinks on YouTube playing the Knockout Game the media tells us doesn't exist. Americans can be forgiven for hoping that such exuberant youths "self-deport" for whatever reason.
"The Somali imams whom I've met are dead set against this ideology and what's happening in their community. They care more about this than anyone, because it's robbing young, vibrant lives from the community."
There are also concerns raised by the Council on American and Islamic Relations that the pilot program is really just a backdoor way to spy on the Somali community, and to gather intelligence. Luger promises that won't happen.What's a bigger priority—stopping terrorism or making sure Eric Holder doesn't file a civil rights lawsuit against you? Besides, I hear white guy posted something mean about Obama on his Facebook page.
Ahmed is now working on a grant for $70,000 to expand his soccer program so no kid is left on a waiting list. Already, there are whispers in the community about which programs will get money, and who will be left out. In the end though, it's not about programs, it's about people like Ahmed. Someone who will listen. Someone they can trust.Someone who can be a rent seeker who gets your money by exploiting the violent predispositions of his co-ethnics.
Maybe American "soccer moms" should start a terrorist group. Then the government will pay their expenses.