A task force of Middle East experts is urging the Obama administration to work within Muslim communities in the U.S. to counter extremism and prevent Islamic militant groups from gathering new recruits, the Associated Press reports. In a study due this week, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy argues that the U.S. must not only defeat terrorists, but also mute the influence of radical groups that spread extremist ideologies and can eventually lead to violence. “We need to get beyond killing our way out of the problem,” said J. Scott Carpenter, a former State Department policy adviser and one of the study’s authors.
The FBI has stepped up efforts to reach out to community leaders in the Minneapolis region, where young Somali-American men and are believed to have gone to Somalia to fight with militants. Spokesman E.K. Wilson said the FBI has worked to expand relationships with community elders, religious leaders, and others active in the local Somali population, which numbers about 80,000. “We want to make them feel comfortable with us,” he said. “We want them to come forward with concerns about their young people.”