Cities plan to meet at White House to discuss extremism

The U.S. attorney’s offices from several cities will meet at a White House summit this week to discuss ways to counter violent extremism and how to cut off terrorist recruiting pipelines.

Prosecutors and civic leaders from Minneapolis, Los Angeles and Boston will discuss the progress of programs in those cities to stem the causes of radicalization in hopes to break the recruiting cycle that have sent Western fighters to warring areas in the Middle East and Africa.

Minnesota will launch its formal program next month. The program was developed with Somali community leaders and will include more youth programs, more mentors, expanded job opportunities and job training, more dialogue between youth and religious leaders, and help affording college.

U.S. Attorney Andy Luger of Minnesota told The Associated Press that the program will create “intervention models” to help parents intervene if their child is susceptible to being recruited.

The U.S. Attorney’s offices in Los Angeles and Boston have been less vocal about their programs.

Los Angeles has been under fire from civil rights groups, including the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Haroon Manjlai, a spokesman for CAIR's Los Angeles chapter, said the group is worried that the program will infringe on Muslims' freedom of speech and religion and might hurt their public image.

CAIR questioned the effectiveness of programs ahead of the summit saying in a statement, "Credible community voices who are not viewed as 'being in the government's pocket' are necessary."

Abdisalam Adam, an imam who also teaches English as a second language at two St. Paul high schools, will also be attending the summit. He said he wants more assurances that the Minneapolis pilot won't be used for surveillance or intelligence-gathering on the Somali community, but said he's been encouraged by Luger's outreach since he became U.S. attorney last February.

"I don't realistically expect one high-profile meeting will be sufficient to address these issues but it's a starting point," Adam said. "A lot of work will have to come after the meeting."

The Associated Press contributed to this report