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.

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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.

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