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Militant Recruitment Of Somali-American Youth Appears Halted, Says US Congressman

  • VOA News

U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to congress, (D-MN), talks during a press conference in Cairo, Egypt, March 15, 2012.

U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to congress, (D-MN), talks during a press conference in Cairo, Egypt, March 15, 2012.

A U.S. congressman from Minnesota says the recruitment of young Somali-Americans by Islamist militants in that state appears to have stopped.
Representative Keith Ellison said in an interview with VOA's Somali Service that he is not aware of any recent cases of young people from his area being recruited or traveling to Somalia to fight with militant groups like al-Shabab.
Ellison warns that because recruitment often takes place "in the dark," or secretly, it may still be going on.
He says lack of integration into American society - caused by high unemployment and the expense of higher education - has made Somali-American youths more vulnerable to terrorist recruitment.
"It's important that we make sure that there [are] jobs, education, opportunity for Somali-American youth so that they will be able to say 'no' to these kinds of recruitments," he said.
The congressman says it is also important to make sure the FBI and American law enforcement are seen as allies to the Somali immigrant community.
Last year, a Somali national was convicted by a U.S. federal court on charges of conspiring to recruit young men from Minnesota to join the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab in its push to topple the Mogadishu government.
Ellison, the first Muslim elected to the U.S. Congress, recently visited Somalia.

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