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Somali non-profit rejects $500K in federal funding over Trump's "anti-Muslim sentiments"

Hiiraan Online
Thursday February 2, 2017

Minneapolis (HOL) - A Somali youth group in Minnesota has declined federal funding in light of the Trump Administrations recent changes to the Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) program and evident “anti-Muslim sentiments” in the government

Ka Joog, a youth organization founded in 2007 by young Somalis, announced that they have declined the half million dollars awarded to them. The group funds and operates several initiates aimed at undermining extremist ideology as well as mentoring and job training. The groups name literally translates to "stay away" in Somali which highlights their commitment to steering youth away from radicalization, gangs and other negative influences.

Last month the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) earmarked $10 million for the CVE program, Ka Joog was one of its recipients.

In a statement released on Wednesday evening, the group said that they were “deeply troubled by our nation’s new administration and their policies which promote fear, uncertainty and even worse; an unofficial war on Muslim-Americans and Immigrants.”

Ka Joog’s Executive Director, Mohamed Farah said "“In order for Ka Joog to continue building community, it requires vigilant awareness of the work we must continually do to undermine all the socialization and injustice that leads us to behave in a way that perpetuates more divisions.”

The CVE program under the previous Obama administration was no stranger to controversy as many felt that it left the Muslim community vulnerable and unfairly targeted the Somali community as a hotbed for terrorist activity.

Attorney Andy Luger who prosecuted the most high profile and controversial ISIS trial in American history was successfully lobbied by Minneapolis area Imams to change the name of the pilot program. During the trial, 9 Somali young men were either convicted or plead guilty to various terror charges which divided the Somali community in Minneapolis.

The announcement comes on the heels of reports that the Trump Administration is changing the name of the CVE program to “Countering Islamic Extremism” or “Countering Radical Islamic Extremism”; an indication that his government will focus its resources exclusively on Islamic extremism. A move that is sure to alienate Somali and Muslim groups in the United States.

Ka Joog is not the first civic organization to decline federal funding from the Trump administration, last week, a Lebanese-American group based in Michigan, Leaders Advancing & Helping Communities,  also declined $500,000 DHS grant citing the tense political climate “as a cause for concern”.


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