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Somali-American Youth Group Rejects Nearly $500K From Government


The Ka Joog Facebook page.

A Somali-American youth group has rejected nearly $500,000 in U.S. government funding because of what it calls the new president's anti-Muslim policies.

Minneapolis-based Ka Joog works to prevent the radicalization of Somali-American teens by militant groups like Islamic State and al-Shabab.

Last month, the Department of Homeland Security awarded the group just under $500,000 through the government's Countering Violent Extremism initiative.

But Ka Joog announced Thursday it would decline the award because of what it called "an unofficial war on Muslim-Americans and immigrants."

"As an organization trying to bring change, we feel like this process has been hindered by the Trump administration [efforts] to instill fear, uncertainty and anti-Muslim sentiments," the group said in a statement.

The group's name is Somali for "stay away," a message designed to encourage kids from steer clear of violence, radicalization, drugs and other negative influences. The Minneapolis office of the FBI honored the group in 2012.

Last week, Trump signed an executive order that temporarily bans immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries, including Somalia. The administration has maintained that the ban is not aimed specifically at Muslims and that its purpose is to safeguard the U.S. public.

Minneapolis is home to tens of thousands of Somali immigrants and refugees.

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