News / USA

    Somali Americans Linked to IS Shock Minnesota Immigrant Community

    Somali Americans Linked to ISIS Shock Minnesota Immigrant Communityi
    X
    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

    Former US Envoys Urge Obama to Delay Troop Cuts in Afghanistan

    Keeping troop levels up during conflict with both Taliban and Islamic State is necessary to support Kabul government, they say

    First Lady to Visit Africa to Promote Girls' Education

    Michele Obama will be joined by daughters and actresses Meryl Streep and Freida Pinto

    Video NYSE Analyst: Brexit Will Continue to Place Pressure on Markets

    Despite orderly pricing and execution strategy at the New York Stock Exchange, analyst explains added pressure on world financial markets is likely

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    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.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora