News / USA

Somali Americans Linked to IS Shock Minnesota Immigrant Community

Somali Americans Linked to ISIS Shock Minnesota Immigrant Communityi
Kane Farabaugh
September 03, 2014 11:58 PM
The death of American citizen Douglas McAuthur McCain while fighting for the Islamic State in Syria has raised concerns about the radicalization and recruitment of young men from immigrant communities throughout the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the large Somali American community in Minnesota is coming to terms with news that one of its own may be the second American to die with the terror group.

It is difficult for Goth Ali to believe the man he sees in shaky and grainy social media videos is the same one he has known for almost a decade - Abdirahmaan Muhumed.
“One of my friends told me, 'hey - Abdirahmaan is fighting in Syria,'” he said. “I said, "what?!  I thought he [was] going to Ethiopia and fighting.'”
Ali and the large Somali American community in Minnesota are coming to terms with news that one of their own may be the second American to die while fighting on the side of Islamic State militants.
Reports of Americans fighting for the group have raised concerns about the radicalization and recruitment of young men from immigrant communities throughout the United States, and particularly those in the large Somali American community in Minnesota.
“When I hear the news I was shocked,” Ali said. “And everybody was shocked. The entire East Africa community and all the Somali was shocked by that guy.”
Ali says the father of nine left his family behind, and according to posts on his Facebook page - which Goth Ali believes are Muhumed’s - he resurfaced earlier this year in the Middle East, brandishing weapons and issuing a call for others to join him in jihad.
Minnesota Public Radio profiled Muhumed in a report in June, and through a series of Facebook messages with the radio station, he confirmed he was fighting with Islamic State militants.  
Muhumed’s case is similar to that of Abdi Mohamud Nur, another Somali American from Minnesota believed to be fighting in Iraq and Syria. His sister Ifrah told Voice of America earlier this year she received a text message from him indicating he planned to join the jihad.

Muhumed and Nur are among a number of ethnic Somali men from Minnesota who have left to join the conflict in Syria and Iraq, countries where they don't typically have family connections.
They are believed to be part of a larger investigation by the FBI’s field office in Minneapolis. Supervisory Special Agent E.K. Wilson, who did not talk about specific cases, says the issue is a significant concern and top priority for his agency. Wilson believes material on the Internet is a big recruiting tool attracting young men to fight.  “It has made the radicalization process change over time,” he says.  “It has created more opportunities for self-radicalization. There’s a lot of material on the Internet.”
Goth Ali and others in the Somali community agree. “I don’t believe the recruiting thing is going on in Minnesota or the United States. Actually the recruiting is coming from the YouTube.”
Wilson says the FBI is highlighting a message that joining an armed conflict overseas may be illegal, and potentially deadly. “This isn’t an adventure,” he explained.  “This isn’t a righteous cause.  It isn’t fun.  It’s not something you are going to do with your friends and come home when you are tired of it. It is a dangerous proposition.”
U.S. officials have not publicly confirmed Muhumed’s death, but a local TV station reports the man’s family has been notified that he died in Syria.
But Goth Ali wants more proof.

“We don’t have actually evidence, and I haven’t seen somebody like the U.S. State Department say we have evidence like a DNA test or pictures.”
Until that evidence comes, Ali says he waits for another message, another video that might show his friend is still alive.

Kane Farabaugh

Kane Farabaugh is the Midwest Correspondent for Voice of America, where since 2008 he has established Voice of America's presence in the heartland of America.

You May Like

Multimedia Brussels Schools, Metro Reopen Under Heavy Guard

City remains under the highest threat alert level due to what authorities have described as a 'serious and imminent' threat of attack

Video Debt-ridden Refugees Await Onslaught of Lebanese Winter

Aid agencies are attempting to reduce potentially devastating consequences of freezing conditions and snowstorms that killed eight last year, including three Syrian refugees

Americans Think About Strange Stuff at Thanksgiving

Millions of Americans are celebrating Thanksgiving, but they’re not necessarily thinking about turkey and stuffing

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Loren J. from: San Francisco, CA
September 07, 2014 4:52 PM
Ethiopia and Uganda apparently exterminating his terrorist group in Somalia, so he fled elsewhere to murder civilians at will.

Meanwhile U.S. taxpayers taking care of his 9 children...Nine!

by: Mr a from: new york
September 04, 2014 11:11 AM
This is a ideal example of stabbing in back. American give Somali the chance to resettle In USA after they were suffering from famine and civil war.

They should be tankful . They should understand the love and compassion of the west. then the radical group whom they live in their community.They get food stamps and warfare, check medicate . section 8. and each Somali could cost the Us tax payee $3000 .

Then he become a devoted Muslim and willing to slaughter people as a sheep. Who can trust these people again????????
In Response

by: Xaaji Dhagax from: Somalia
September 04, 2014 10:13 PM
Mr. Ali Babow, from New York if you do not know what you saying better be shut up! Somali immigrants in US are very grateful to the government of US for the help of being allowed to settle in America.
According to US homeland security, overwhelming of Somali immigrants are law abiding citizens and very cooperative to authorities. You should know by now that every communities have always few bad apples which cause to have their community's reputation tarnished. |
Here in Somalia, we all appreciative and thankful to US's recent airstrikes against Arab trained terrorists of Al Shabaab. Somalis are not the ones who caused the 911 terrorist attack in America.
May our Lord bless America!

by: Andre from: Manitoba
September 04, 2014 6:17 AM
These people are a ticking time bomb. Ferguson was just a warm-up. Their next target will be America.

by: Lisa from: Dallas
September 03, 2014 9:37 PM
God Bless America, am very sorry for some of African who turns against American. American is not your problem when they brought us is to enjoy peace and freedom, we should have commonsense be you hate American people.for christians people don't hate American I came to America as refugee have been here for almost 10years this country help me to educate my brother and every day I ask to pray for the American. For the people who came here with hate your devil's and GOD one day will deal with you.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against ISi
November 24, 2015 3:04 AM
The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs