[Rushtalk] Muslim Somalis still leaving Minn. to join terror group

Carl Spitzer cwsiv at keepandbeararms.com
Fri Nov 1 21:41:18 MDT 2013


 
 
                                    
            Somalis still leaving Minn. to join terror group
                                    
                                    
                          Sep 26, 1:35 AM (ET)
                                    
                          By STEVE KARNOWSKI 
                                    
                                                      
   (AP) In this photo taken Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013, a young Somali boy
                           accompanies his mother who covers...
                                              Full Image
                                    
                                    
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Leaders of the nation's largest Somali community say
some of their young men are still being enticed to join the terror group
  that has claimed responsibility for the deadly mall attack in Kenya,
   despite a concentrated effort to shut off what authorities call a
                  "deadly pipeline" of men and money. 
                                    
   Six years have passed since Somali-American fighters began leaving
   Minnesota to become part of al-Shabab. Now the Somali community is
dismayed over reports that a few of its own might have been involved in
             the violence at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi. 
                                    
 "One thing I know is the fear is growing," said Abdirizak Bihi, whose
   nephew was among at least six men from Minnesota who have died in
                   Somalia. More are presumed dead. 
                                    
Since 2007, at least 22 young men have left Minnesota to join al-Shabab,
including two who did so last summer. Unconfirmed reports that two more
            left earlier this month have deepened concerns. 
                                    
                                                      
(AP) In this photo taken Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013, members of the Somali
                              community visit in a park in...
                                              Full Image
 Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said Tuesday that initial reports had
 suggested a British woman and two or three American citizens may have
  been involved in the attack. But neither Kenyan authorities nor the
             Minneapolis FBI office had any confirmation. 
                                    
 Minnesota's Somali community, concentrated in the Minneapolis-St. Paul
area, includes people who fled the long civil war in their east African
homeland and children born in the U.S. Many are now American citizens. 
                                    
 The movement of Somalis who've come to be known as "travelers" remains
"a priority investigation for the Minneapolis office," FBI Special Agent
                           Kyle Loven said. 
                                    
    At least 18 men and three women have been charged in the ongoing
Minnesota investigation. Some went to Somalia while others were accused
             of aiding the effort mainly by raising money. 
                                    
 Seven men pleaded guilty to various charges. One man was convicted on
terrorism-related charges last year. Two women were convicted in 2011 of
being fundraisers for al-Shabab. A third woman pleaded guilty last month
 to lying to a grand jury. The other defendants remain at large, or are
                      confirmed or presumed dead. 
                                    
                                                      
(AP) In this photo taken Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013, members of the Somali
                             community visit near a park in...
                                              Full Image
   Al-Shabab means "The Youth" in Arabic. The group uses a mixture of
  religion, nationalism and deception to lure young people, said Omar
 Jamal, a longtime local activist who now serves as the first secretary
             for the Somali mission to the United Nations. 
                                    
  "They misinform people, and they target young, impressionable kids,"
   Jamal said. "They literally brainwash them. It's a very dangerous
                                cult." 
                                    
 Al-Shabab's local recruitment efforts began in 2007 when small groups
 began discussing returning home to fight Ethiopian troops who entered
 Somalia to prop up a weak U.N.-backed government and were seen by many
 Somalis as foreign invaders. The recruiters aimed their appeal at the
              young men's patriotic and religious ideals. 
                                    
 Ethiopian troops pulled out of Somalia in 2009, but al-Shabab kept up
 its fight for power. According to Valentina Soria, a security analyst
with London-based IHS Jane's, al-Shabab has increasingly focused in the
past three years on the recruitment of western nationals and members of
   the Somali diaspora in the U.S. and Europe to offset its declining
                           domestic support. 
                                    
 Anders Folk was an assistant U.S. attorney in Minneapolis for several
    years of the recruiting investigation before leaving for private
  practice. Al-Shabab's recruiting was at least as effective after the
                  Ethiopians left as before, he said. 
                                    
                                                      
   (AP) In this photo taken Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013, a young Somali boy
                           accompanies his mother who covers...
                                              Full Image
"Al Shabab's recruiting technique was essentially a call to jihad, that
 this is a religious duty," Folk said. "It was a call to jihad to come
                              and fight." 
                                    
 Internet videos are a major tool for the group. Many feature scenes of
men with covered faces firing automatic weapons, marching or practicing
martial arts, as well as images of dead bodies and religious documents.
    Some show English-speaking suicide bombers reciting last wills. 
                                    
 The group often appeals young men who've had trouble assimilating into
American life, perhaps because they are unable to get a job, dropped out
            of school or got involved in gangs, Jamal said. 
                                    
  He cited a recently released al-Shabab propaganda video that lauded
three "Minnesotan martyrs," including the American-born non-Somali Troy
                     Kastigar, a convert to Islam. 
                                    
    Smiling and laughing in the footage, Kastigar called his battle
 experiences "the real Disneyland" and urged other Muslims to come and
    "take pleasure in this fun." He was killed in 2009 in Mogadishu,
                        according to the video. 
                                    
   The recruiters masquerade "as people who are there for you at your
     lowest point," said Abdul Mohamed, a spokesman for Ka Joog, a
Minneapolis-based nonprofit whose name means "stay away," which works to
 provide positive alternatives for Somali youth through education, the
                         arts and mentorship. 
                                    
"Instead of shying away from this issue and letting it separate us, it's
 best if we take it on headstrong and steadfast so in the future we can
prevent it from happening," Mohamed said. "At the end of the day, these
                     kids are full of potential." 
                                    
                                  --- 
                                    
Associated Press writer Amy Forliti contributed to this report from New
                                 York. 
                                    
                                    
                                    
                                    
                                    
                                    
                                    
                                    
                                    
                                    
                                    
                                    
         Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All right reserved. 
                                    
                                    
                                    


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