News / USA

Al-Shabab Recruitment an Enduring Concern for Minnesota Somalis

Al-Shabab Recruitment an Enduring Concern for Minnesota Somalisi
September 26, 2013 3:18 PM
Somali-Americans in Minnesota expressed anger and frustration Wednesday after unconfirmed reports that people from their local community may have been involved in the attack on a Kenyan shopping mall that killed at least 67 people. VOA's Brian Padden is in Minneapolis and reports that the ability of a Somalia-based Islamic militant group to recruit young Americans has been a longstanding concern.

Al-Shabab Recruitment an Enduring Concern for Minnesota Somalis

Brian Padden
Somali-Americans in Minnesota expressed anger and frustration Wednesday after unconfirmed reports that people from their local community may have been involved in the attack on a Kenyan shopping mall that killed at least 67 people. The ability of a Somalia-based Islamic militant group to recruit young Americans has been a long-standing concern.

Ka Joog, a Somali-American youth group, called a news conference in Minneapolis to condemn the al-Shabab terrorist group for its attack on Nairobi's Westgate Mall and the killing of innocent civilians.

Reports that some of the attackers were from Minnesota have not been confirmed. But since 2007, between 20 and 40 ethnic Somali-Americans have joined al-Shabab in Somalia, some of them dying there, according to U.S. authorities.

Ka Joog leader Mohamed Farah said the vast majority of Somalis in Minnesota and around the world do not support terrorism.

“Every community has their own bad apples in it. And so, but you know we got to make sure we don't torture the image of the great Somalis that reside across the globe,” he said.

Abdirizak Bihi, director of a Somali advocacy center in Minneapolis, said his nephew Burhan Hassan was recruited by al-Shabab in a local mosque in 2008.

“He was one of the young men that has been brainwashed, radicalized and then helped to leave the country to join al Shabaab,” Bihi explained, adding that the group targets vulnerable Somalis who feel marginalized in U.S. society. Bihi said after his nephew joined, his family alerted authorities to the danger al-Shabab posed.

“We shocked al-Shabab by standing up to them and organizing all other families and continued to make a case to the U.S. government and the international community that there is a big problem over there that followed us here,” Bihi said.

Since then, there have been successful efforts to engage young people to counter-terrorist recruitment in the area, he said. But it is too late for Bihi's nephew, who died in Somalia in 2009.

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Comment Sorting
by: Abdi from: Minneapolis
October 06, 2013 1:42 PM
Abdirizak Bihi is NOT a Somali community leader. His organization is non-existent in the community and so is he. He only shows up when the media is there. Find some legitimate Somali leaders- who don't have restraining orders, DWIs and arrest warrants. This Bihi guy is a joke.

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
September 27, 2013 12:28 PM
There is no excuse to exonerate an average muslim of complicity with terrorism, young Somalis inclusive. More than 90% of all violent and terrorist acts in the world is committed by the same group almost all the time, with some trying to explain it away in one way or another, some condemning it - which I see as untrue because they in one way or another contribute to funding of the barbaric act, while the set aside group by any name of their choice - al qaida, el shebaab, boko haram, al masri, muslim brotherhood, hezbollah, hamas, mujahideen, hakanni network, etc - continue to unleash mayhem on cities and regions and peoples. They are accommodated in places and mosques and yet they are as elusive as the air. Where have all these lip-service condemnation landed us? Into more radicalization as young Somalis going all the way from USA to stage such hold-ups as Westgate Mall attacks. Horrendous, to say the least.

In Response

by: Xaaji Dhagax from: Somalia
September 28, 2013 2:53 AM
Blaming all Muslims as terrorists and/or contributors of terrorism activities ..."in one way or another" is unsubstantiated assertion. This kind of statement has been known uttering by Western representatives for the past number of years. Your 'blaming" statement is very similar to a research done by Professor J. Philip Rushton of University of Western Ontario. In his published research Rushton claimed that all African descents, because of their genetic problem, have inherently violent and aggressive personality. In other words, Rushton believes all black people are terrorists, of course young Somalis inclusive. Taking this "hypothesis" and apply to all Muslims is deplorable manners.

by: Xaaji Dhagax from: Somalia
September 27, 2013 10:46 AM
Somali youth from diaspora who joined Al-Shabab grew up in families were there were no father figures. They all became vulnerable, dropped out of school and disfranchised by their own community. Western countries including USA and Canada have no meaningful programs for these particular youth of colour.

Taking advantage of their situation, Somali terrorist agents recruited, brainwashed, radicalised and sent them all right here in Somalia to fight alongside Al-Shabab. All but few get killed. To begin with, these youth were let down by their fathers, Somali communities and the society they live in. Unfortunately it's avoidable tragedy and should not be repeated.

by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
September 27, 2013 1:37 AM
It is unfair for al-shabab to target oversea young Somalis. It would be easy to braiwash and make radicarize them feeling marginarized there. Government and local residents should protect those ethnic young facing the risk of unfair recruitment.

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