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

Pundits Split Over Long-Term US Role in Afghanistan

Security pact remains condition for American presence beyond 2014; deadline criticized More

US Eyes Islamic State Threat

Officials warn that IS could pose a threat to US homeland More

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Moscow says Russian troops crossed into Ukrainian territory by mistake 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.
Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocksi
X
George Putic
August 25, 2014 4:00 PM
How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.
Video

Video Peace Returns to Ferguson as Community Tries to Heal

Thousands of people nationwide are expected to attend funeral services Monday in the U.S. Midwestern city of St. Louis, Missouri, for Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager who was fatally shot by a white police officer August 9 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. The shooting touched off days of violent demonstrations there, resulting in more than 100 arrests. VOA's Chris Simkins reports from Ferguson where the community is trying to move on after weeks of racial tension.
Video

Video Meeting in Minsk May Hinge on Putin Story

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine are expected to meet face-to-face Tuesday in Minsk, along with European leaders, for talks on the situation in Ukraine. Political analysts say the much welcomed dialogue could help bring an end to months of deadly clashes between pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian forces in the country's southeast. But much depends on the actions of one man, Russian President Vladimir Putin. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Russia in July enacted a law threatening fines for publicly displayed profanity in media, films, literature, music and theater. The restriction, the toughest since the Soviet era, aims to protect the Russian language and culture and has been welcomed by those who say cursing is getting out of control. But many artists reject the move as a patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

Security services are racing to identify the Islamic State militant who beheaded U.S. journalist James Foley in Syria. The murderer spoke English on camera with a British accent. It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for the Islamic State, also called ISIL or ISIS, alongside thousands of other foreign jihadists. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from the center of the investigation in London.

AppleAndroid