Trial exposes tension over U.S. counter-extremism approach

June 3, 2016, Reuters

Attorney Andrew Luger, Minnesota's senior prosecutor, who is spearheading efforts to prevent youth in Minneapolis from joining ISIS, is pictured in his office in MinneapolisIn the spring of 2014, as Islamic State seized ground in Syria, a group of 10 young Somali-American men in Minneapolis began scheming to join the battle between games of basketball at a neighborhood mosque, a jury found on Friday.

But the court case leaves larger doubts unresolved over the success of one of the U.S. government’s flagship programs to counter home-grown extremism in a city whose large Muslim population has been a focus of concern over radicalization.

It raises questions over whether the U.S. government has figured out a way to steer most young Muslims away from Islamist extremism and what the involvement of law enforcement officials should be.

With the help of an informant, FBI agents tracked the group and prosecutors charged them with trying to join Islamic State late last year, the largest such case the U.S. Justice Department has brought.

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