Several Somali-Americans and Muslim leaders from Minnesota said they were impressed with steps that Hillary Clinton wants to take to defeat terrorism at home and around the world.
Abdirizak Bihi, a longtime community activist, said that the Democratic presidential front-runner’s comments came at a time when the recent arrests of a group of young men on charges of conspiring to join ISIL were still fresh on their minds.
Bihi, whose nephew was among the several dozen Minnesota men who left to join extremist groups fighting in the Horn of Africa and the Middle East, said that many in the community took solace in Clinton’s talk of disrupting the sophisticated online propaganda and recruiting of groups like ISIL.
Before her speech Tuesday at the University of Minnesota, Clinton met with a handful of local Muslim leaders about the struggles in their community.
Imam Abdisalam Adam, a Minneapolis mosque leader who also attended Clinton’s listening session before the speech, came away pleased. “It was important to me that she said, ‘I need to hear from you. What are you feeling?’ ” he said.
Jaylani Hussein, executive director of the Council on American Islamic Relations in Minnesota, took issue with Clinton’s support for Building Community Resilience, a program aimed at curbing terrorism recruitment through community engagement.
“She doesn’t know, and refused to recognize or wasn’t aware that the majority of Minnesota Muslims do not support the U.S. attorney’s program,” he said. “The only comment about the opposition was that we should trust law enforcement and I felt like that was unfair.”
Staff writer Abby Simons contributed to this report.