News / Africa

Somali Terror Group Accused of Recruiting Muslim Americans

Republican US Representative Peter King, Jul 27, 2011
Republican US Representative Peter King, Jul 27, 2011
Cindy Saine

Republican U.S. Representative Peter King of New York says the Somalia-based terror group al-Shabab has recruited more Americans than al-Qaida to carry out attacks. King held the third in a series of controversial hearings on the threat posed to the United States by Islamic radicalization in the Muslim American community.

King said that al-Shabab, which operates out of famine-stricken Somalia, poses a serious threat to U.S. national security.

"Al-Shabab has successfully recruited and radicalized more than 40 Muslim Americans and 20 Canadians who have joined the terror group inside Somalia," said King.

Focus on Minnesota

Most of those recruited were Somali Americans living in the midwestern state of Minnesota.  King said al-Shabab’s recruitment campaign is increasing the chances the group will strike outside of the Horn of Africa, possibly against the United States. King, who heads the House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security, said the committee has learned that at least 15 Americans and three Canadians have died fighting in Somalia with al-Shabab.

The ranking Democrat member on the committee, Bennie Thompson, said that so far, al-Shabab has not targeted the United States or U.S. interests abroad, and that most of those recruited in North America carried out terrorist attacks against other Muslims in Somalia.  He also referred to the alleged domestic terrorist attack last week in Norway.

"This lone wolf extremist killed nearly 80 people in his anti-Islamic fervor," said Thompson. "It is too early to say what the people of Norway will take from this horrific national tragedy.  But for me, this incident makes plain that the madness of terrorism cannot be neatly confined to any one religion, one people or one nation."

Guilt by association

Critics of King's hearings say they unfairly target Muslims and result in guilt by association for the Muslim community in America.  Several Democrats on the committee said Congress should investigate a broad spectrum of domestic terrorist threats, including anti-government hate groups and white supremacists.  No current federal officials have testified at the hearings.

King strongly rejected the criticism, saying the tragedy in Norway had nothing to do with the focus of the hearings.

"I will not back down from holding these hearings," he said. "I will continue to hold these hearings so long as I am the chairman of this committee."

Important hearings

One of the witnesses at the hearing, Ahmed Hussen of the Cross-Cultural Roundtable on Security in Canada, backed King on the value of the hearings for law-abiding Muslim Americans and Canadians.

"I would like to close by saying that these hearings are extremely important to us; they empower us and they remove the stigma in our community that prevents us from talking about these issues that are really important to our community," said Hussen.

Another witness, William Folk, a former assistant U.S. attorney in the northern state of Minnesota, said he shares King's concerns about al-Shabab.

"Its activities have included, but are not limited to, suicide bombings in Somalia, suicide bombings in Uganda - killing hundreds of innocent people," said Folk. "The senseless and extreme acts of violence that we have seen them perpetrate include stoning innocent people in Somalia - teenage girls - cutting the hands and feet of thieves in Somalia."

The final witness before the committee was Tom Smith, the chief of police for St. Paul, Minnesota.  He said his precinct has had great success in reaching out to the large Somali American community in his city, working in small groups with teens and women, and that integration into society is the key to making young people less vulnerable to recruitment by terrorists.

You May Like

WHO: Anti-Ebola Efforts Should Focus on West Africa

Official says WHO is 'reasonably confident' countries bordering those hardest hit by the Ebola outbreak are not seeing the virus crossing their borders More

South Sudan Crisis Threatens Development

Economic costs and lost development opportunities in South Sudan have erased what little progress the country has made since independence in 2011 More

Ukrainian PM Warns: Russia May Try to Disrupt Sunday Poll

Arseniy Yatsenyuk orders full security mobilization for parliamentary election to prevent ‘terrorist acts’ from being carried out More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid