The federal government is sending more taxpayer money to Somali refugees in Maine.
“The United States Department of Agriculture is committing nearly $400,000 to increase food access for the Somali community in Lewiston,” the Associated Press reports:
Members of the Somali Bantu community in the city are partnering with the Cumberland County Food Security Council on the project. The funding is expected to support Somalis’ agriculture and help them reconnect with their cultural heritage.
The USDA says the objectives of the project include building the capacity of the Somali Bantu community and its farmers to produce food and address the problem of limited food access. The agency describes the Somali Bantu community as the poorest community in the city, which is the second largest city in the state.
Cumberland County Food Security Council will recruit people in the community to help increase access to healthy food.
News of this grant comes on the heels of a $300,000 federal grant designed to help limit domestic assaults occurring in Maine’s Somali community.
“The federal Office on Violence Against Women is giving a Maine immigration resource center $300,000 for sexual assault and domestic violence advocacy in the immigrant community,” according to the Washington Times.
“The money is going to Immigration Resource Center of Maine, which is located in Lewiston. The center was formerly called the United Somali Women of Maine,” the Times reports.
Maine has the third highest Somali refugee resettlement rate of all the states in the country, as Breitbart News reported previously:
Ninety-seven thousand three hundred and eighty-five Somali refugees have been resettled in the United States in the fifteen years since FY 2002, of which 15,710 were resettled in Minnesota, more than any other state in the country, according to the Department of State’s interactive website.
Trailing Minnesota in the top ten states for Somali refugee resettlement since FY 2002 are Ohio (7,551), Texas (7,195), New York (6,169), Arizona (5,682), Georgia (4,113), California (3,731), Missouri (3,246), Massachusetts (3,156), and Tennessee (2,958).
Minnesota also leads the country in the number of Somali refugees resettled over these fifteen years on a per capita basis, with 286.2 Somali refugees resettled per 100,000 residents of the state. (The state’s 2015 population was 5.5 million).
Only two states come close to Minnesota’s per capita Somali refugee resettlement number: North Dakota and Maine.
North Dakota experienced a 131.7 Somali refugee resettlement rate per 100,000 residents (997 refugees over fifteen years in a state with a 2015 population of 756,927).
Maine experienced a 117.9 Somali refugee resettlement rate per 100,000 residents (1,568 refugees over fifteen years in a state with a 2015 population of 1.3 million).
The growing Somali refugee community in the United States has been considered a likely center of terrorism recruitment for some time.
“To date, more than 60 young Somali men and women have left Minnesota to join al-Shabaab, the Islamic State, and other Islamic terrorist organizations in the Middle East and Africa,” Ian Tuttle wrote at National Review back in September of 2015.:
Others have been stopped at local airports attempting to make the journey, and prosecutions for sending money to terrorist outfits abroad are not uncommon. The FBI has begun to monitor the community, and it is the target of a federal pilot program to counter violent extremism. That program will focus especially on Minneapolis’s Cedar Riverside neighborhood — or, as locals call it, “Little Mogadishu.”
Dahir Adan, whose attack of ten Americans at a mall in St. Cloud, Minnesota on September 17 was likely motivated by “inspiration from radical Islamic groups,” FBI Director James Comey said recently.
Maine has at least one known link to terrorism among its refugee community. An Iraqi refugee, Adnan Fazelli, who lived in Maine for several years after being initially resettled in Pennsylvania, left his family in Maine to fight for ISIS in 2013. He was killed in a battle in Lebanon in 2015.