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Ka Joog, Heartland Democracy Receive Huge Homeland Security Grants

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Two Twin Cities organizations were awarded thousands of dollars Friday by the Department of Homeland Security for their efforts to counter violent extremism.

Ka Joog, a nonprofit that aims to get young East African Minnesotans on the path to higher education, received about $500,000 to fight radicalization.

Related: Home Grown: The Somali-American Struggle – Heartland Democracy

Heartland Democracy, which is working to increase civic engagement in the Somali-American community, was awarded more than $165,000.

Jeh Johnson, the current secretary of Homeland Security, says domestic efforts to repel radicalization has become a major mission of his department.

"I know that from visiting numerous communities across this country that very often the best efforts to count violent extremism are local, tailored to a particular community," Johnson said. "My hope is that Congress will continue to fund this type of grant activity in the future."

Related: Ka Joob - The Antidote To Minn. Terror Recruitment

Ka Joog, which means "stay away" in Somali, was founded in 2007 in an effort to empower young Somali-Americans by emerging them in education, sports and the arts. Members have even traveled to Somalia and Kenya to spread their counter-terrorism message.

Heartland Democracy was instrumental in the experimental move to place Abdullahi Yusef in a halfway home during his terrorism trial. Yusef, who was accused of trying to join ISIS, became an FBI informant and secretly recorded several of his friends as they plotted to travel abroad to join the terrorist group.

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