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

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid