The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has joined faith leaders, community activists, and Democratic lawmakers for a press conference to demand the Biden administration not reappoint former Democratic US attorney Andrew Luger to the top federal prosecutor job in Minnesota. According to a press release on the CAIR website, Luger had past involvement in championing a counter-extremism strategy they deemed “Islamophobic.”
March 11, 2021 During a historic watershed moment on racial equity and justice, we do not believe we should be reappointing a U.S. Attorney who has failed to bring civil rights cases against officers accused of police brutality,” Fateh wrote to his colleagues. “We are also concerned about Mr. Luger’s past involvement in Islamophobic ‘Countering Violent Extremism’ programs which vilify young Muslims and subject them to overreaching surveillance and entrapment by the national security state.
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The press conference was also joined by Democratic Minnesota State Senator Omar Fateh, the first Somali-American member of the Minnesota Senate, who has voiced his opposition to Andrew Luger’s potential appointment in Democratic circles.
The CAIR statement said the Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) programs were divisive and increased “Islamophobic bullying of Muslim Students in Minnesota.” CVE programs were created in 2011 as part of the Obama Administration’s strategic approach to counterterrorism, working with governments and non-governmental partners to provide community resilience training and intervening with youth who were deemed susceptible to radicalization. CVE pilot programs focused on Minnesota’s Twin Cities, home to a large Somali community, most of which are Muslim. Civil liberty organizations and Muslim advocacy groups, including CAIR, have come out against these programs, accusing them of stigmatizing American Muslims and casting unwarranted suspicion on innocuous activity.
From 2014 to 2017, Luger served his first role as US attorney for Minnesota under the Obama Administration. Overseeing a number of high-profile cases, including the prosecution and conviction of nine men from Minnesota for attempting to join the Islamic State in Syria, he has received bipartisan support and was endorsed for reappointment by Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar.
The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) is part of the Global Muslim Brotherhood, a transnational Islamist network covered by the Global Influence Operations Report (GIOR). It describes itself as “a grassroots civil rights and advocacy group” and as “America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group” and was founded in 1994 by three officers of the Islamic Association of Palestine, part of the US Hamas infrastructure at that time. In November 2020, the GIOR reported that CAIR had issued a statement congratulating Democratic President-elect Joe Biden on his victory, vowing to hold the forthcoming administration accountable on Muslim inclusion and civil rights issues.