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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid