News / USA

Al-Shabab Finds Fighters Among Somali Youth in Minnesota

Al-Shabab Finds Fighters Among Somali Youth in Minnesotai
X
October 01, 2013 2:48 PM
While it is still unknown whether Somali-Americans were involved in the recent deadly attack by al-Shabab on a Kenyan shopping mall, it is known that the large Somali community in the U.S. state of Minnesota has been fertile ground for recruitment by the terrorist group. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Minneapolis, many young Somali men in the U.S. are torn between two cultures, leaving some susceptible to religious and patriotic appeals from the Islamist militant group.
Brian Padden
— While it is still unknown whether Somali-Americans were involved in the recent deadly attack by al-Shabab on a Kenyan shopping mall, it is known that the large Somali community in the U.S. state of Minnesota has been fertile ground for recruitment by the terrorist group. Many young Somali men in the U.S. are torn between two cultures, leaving some susceptible to religious and patriotic appeals from the Islamist militant group.

Hashim Yonis has embraced life in America and is running for the post of Park Board and Recreation Commissioner in Minneapolis.  And he is mentoring other young Somali men to help them overcome a sense of alienation that many in his generation feel.  

“My generation, I call them the lost generation.  They are not part of the traditional Somalia. They are not part of, 100 percent, so they basically have their one foot on the America side, the Western side and the other one back home," said Yonis.

Many young Somali men are the children of refugees who fled the long civil war in their country and are having difficulty assimilating into American life.  Some drop out of school, can’t find a job or get involved in gangs.  

Nimco Ahmed, a Somali activist who works for the Minneapolis City Council, says the war and resettlement has fractured the traditional family structure.

“Most of our fathers are either not here or not in the country or dead pretty much.  So not having a father figure for boys has been a struggle for us.  And it is still a struggle for us," said Ahmed.

Ethiopia’s invasion of Somalia in 2007 was viewed by some Somalis as a violation of Somali sovereignty even though the troops intervened at the request of the transitional Somali government and with the backing of the African Union and the U.S.  

Using a mixture of religion, nationalism and what some say is deception, the Islamist militant group al-Shabab has recruited at least 20 Somali-Americans to fight against foreign troops in Somalia.

Hussein Egal voices a minority opinion in the Somali community about the intentions of those who joined al Shabab were admirable.

“So we are not talking about the root cause, what caused these people to go back, ostensibly to defend the dignity and the sovereignty of a nation that is being destroyed," he said.

But the majority opinion is that al-Shabab manipulates disaffected youth.  Yonis and other leaders are trying to counter the appeal of terrorist groups abroad by advocating for improved education and opportunities to allow more Somalis to better integrate into American society.

You May Like

China Announces Corruption Probe into Senior Ex-Leader

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, being probed for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid