SACRAMENTO, Calif. — On Saturday, October 17, the United States Attorney’s Office, in partnership with the California Office of Emergency Services, held a Community Resilience Exercise (CREX) at the central library at California State University, Fresno. The day-long event, involving about 50 participants, brought together representatives of law enforcement and other government agencies with representatives of Muslim communities in the Fresno and Madera areas.
Law enforcement participants included the U.S. Attorney, Fresno Office Chief Mark E. Cullers, Assistant Director David Fukutomi of CalOES, Fresno Sheriff Margaret Mims, Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer, Fresno State Police Chief David Huerta, and others including school resource officers, FBI agents, and mental health professionals from the Fresno County Department of Behavioral Health. Muslim community representatives included religious leaders from several congregations such as Masjid Fresno, Masjid Madera, Badr Islamic Center, Masjid Al-Aqabah, and Islamic Cultural Center of Fresno; business, academic and civil leaders; representatives of the Muslim Society of Central California; and students.
ISIS and other violent extremist organizations are adept at using modern communication channels to recruit and radicalize young people. The CREX is a scenario‑based exercise, facilitated by professionals from the National Counterterrorism Center, designed to strengthen relationships between Muslim communities and government and to help both community leaders and local law enforcement focus on local resources and strategies to protect young people and their communities from these groups.
“We in law enforcement must work hand-in-hand with people of all faiths in order to effectively protect children and our communities. No one is more concerned about these issues than people in the communities that are targeted for recruitment by extremists,” said U.S. Attorney Wagner. “Our exercise this weekend is just one example of how various Muslim communities throughout our district are committed to helping address this problem. I am honored to work with them in carrying out this very important work.”
Cal OES Assistant Director David Fukutomi stated: “The Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) is proud to be a co-sponsor of this important effort. We appreciate the participation of the local community leaders as we seek to build lasting relationships that will have lasting benefit to our families and communities.”
Over 250 U.S. citizens or residents have traveled or attempted to travel to Syria and Iraq since early 2014 to join militant groups, mostly ISIS. Many of them are minors, including young girls. Approximately 28 have been arrested by federal authorities while attempting to travel overseas to join extremist groups.