“It’s hard to radicalize someone who has a purpose in life,” said Mohamed Ahmed, founder of C.U.R.E Africa, “so they tend to target youth that have a bad record or don’t have a drivers license or can’t find a job.
Ahmed is a Somali-born American and a community activist. His outreach program aims to steer Somali youth away from radical Islam by giving them other opportunities. He says when families bring their children here to the U.S., a cultural disconnect can develop as the parents work several jobs to make ends meet and the kids are left to their own devices.
“Most of the Somali youth are not speaking the same language as their parents and parents not speaking English very well.”
That disconnect, he says, can be a problem – without any structure or guidance, young people can become easy targets for terrorists.
“Whether its Syria or Somalia when that terrorist person comes up to you and your involved in gang activity and you don’t know what your doing, and there’s no structure in your life, you probably will listen to them.”
Ahmed is hoping to meet with Mayor Kevin Faulconer to come up with a strategy to make sure young people are off the streets and stir clear of influences like ISIS.