A Minnesota problem revisited

Announcing the indictment on Monday of six Minnesota based Somali immigrants for seeking to join ISIS, United States Attorney Andrew Luger declared that the indictment represented “a Minnesota problem.” He meant that as an indictment of Minnesota. Native Minnesotans are somehow at fault for the irresistible attraction to wage jihad felt by an uncomfortably large number of Somali immigrants in our midst. A disinterested observer might start with the common denominator among the defendants past and present.

That, however, is not what Luger had in mind. He meant to direct attention to something we have done or failed to do. Luger’s statement represents the received wisdom in these parts, but it is exceedingly stupid. In this sense, I am sincerely sorry to say, Luger himself is part of “the Minnesota problem.”

Pretending that the problem derives from insufficient time, attention and resources spent on the Somali community by the various arms of the state contributes to the problem. In that wholly unintended sense Luger may have been on to something.

We can see it after each set of arrests or convictions renews our attention to the problem in our midst. Let me pause and note that National Review’s Ian Tuttle went looking in several of the right places when he visited Minneapolis and St. Paul this past fall for the NR article “Terror in the Twin Cities.”

Making the case that we have a “Minnesota problem” of politically correct misdirection and misdiagnosis, I give you as Exhibit A today’s Pavlovian Star Tribune story by Mila Koumpilova: “Terror charges leave shock and dismay across Twin Cities.” The Star Tribune reports:

Monday’s federal charges against six Minneapolis men accused of conspiring to join Islamic extremists overseas spurred soul-searching and pledges for action across the Twin Cities — from the governor’s office in St. Paul to the campus of Minneapolis Community and Technical College, where four of the men were students.

Some wondered what they might have done differently in the run-up to the charges; Minnesota leaders vowed to do more to engage with the Somali community in their aftermath.

“I think we need to do a better job, all of us, in providing a lot of good reasons for young Somali youth to see their better future here in Minnesota,” Gov. Mark Dayton said in an interview.

* * * * *

On Tuesday, Dayton said he and Lt. Gov. Tina Smith had met with U.S. Attorney Andy Luger on Sunday and discussed the arrests. He said he promised that his office would do more to reach out to Somali community leaders, promote Somali-American appointments to state leadership positions and explore ways to boost job opportunities for young Somalis.

“We pledged whatever assistance we could,” he said.

Hours after authorities announced the charges on Monday, a Minnesota House panel voted to boost state funding tenfold to combat terrorist recruitment in Minnesota. Rep. Phyllis Kahn, DFL-Minneapolis, offered an amendment that would raise Department of Public Safety funding earmarked to combat recruitment, to $250,000. Kahn said the money would support partnerships between community groups and government agencies to thwart recruitment efforts.

“We’ll be able to better understand the appeal and recruitment tools … and develop an effective response so more misguided youth aren’t tricked into becoming terrorists,” Kahn said in a statement.

And so on, and so on.

As the den grandmother of the Minnesota left, Phyllis Kahn reduces the stupidity to its essence: “tricked into becoming terrorist.” Hmmmm. What might have “tricked” these “misguided youth”? Ms. Koumpilova wasn’t asking and Rep. Kahn wasn’t saying.

We have a “Minnesota problem,” alright, but it does not derive from a lack of resources devoted to the community of Somali immigrants. It is lodged in Minnesota’s political and cultural establishment. It is represented by United States Attorney Luger and Governor Dayton and the Star Tribune itself. They faithfully parrot the liberal pieties and observe the relevant taboos.


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