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Somali-Americans from Minnesota Leave to Wage Jihad with Al-Shabaab Terror Group

One Homeland Security official describes government outreach to the Somali community as “a total failure."

by
Patrick Poole

Bio

July 13, 2011 - 12:30 pm
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One of those who testified in March before the House Homeland Security Committee (which I covered here at PJMedia) was Abdirazik Bihi, whose 17-year-old nephew Burhan Hassan was killed fighting with al-Shabaab. Bihi was the subject of a lengthy Washington Post article last weekend. He tries to fight radicalization in Minneapolis despite operating a one-man center on a shoe-string budget while being ostracized by his own community leaders and as billions are spent on ineffective Homeland Security programs. Ominously, Bihi warned that more Somali youths would be recruited from the U.S., being tragically vindicated by this news we are exclusively reporting here today.

The issue of radicalization and terror recruitment among Somali-American youths is an issue I’ve covered here at PJMedia since 2007 (long before it became fashionable for the establishment media). In November 2007, I wrote about a terror fundraiser and deputy of designated terrorist Sheikh Aweys, Zakaria Haji Abdi (who is now part of the Somali TFG government), who was scheduled to speak at several events in Minnesota and Virginia. Our pleas to Homeland Security officials to deny entry to the fundraiser fell on deaf ears and the event took place as planned.

At the time I noted that during the Minneapolis event Abdi instructed the attendees how to send money through hawala networks without raising suspicions of authorities. Law enforcement authorities now concede that the November 2007 meeting I reported on was the tipping point for radicalization in the Minneapolis Somali community. The first group of Somali Americans to leave for jihad back in Somalia left shortly after the Minneapolis event. Included in that group was Shirwa Ahmed, who conducted a suicide bombing attack in northern Somalia — the first known case of an American suicide bomber.

And in the aftermath of the November 2008 presidential election a larger group of nearly two dozen young Somali men left to fight with al-Shabaab. Several members of the November 2008 group have been confirmed killed fighting with al-Shabaab. Then in September 2009, Seattle resident Omar Mohamud carried out another suicide attack targeting African Union troops. Two stolen UN vehicles were used in that attack, which killed twenty-one people.

Last September I reported here at PJMedia that a top al-Shabaab commander killed in fighting Somali TFG troops in Mogadishu was Columbus, Ohio, resident Dahir Gurey. And let’s also not forget that last November, Portland college student Mohamed Osman Mohamud was caught in a FBI sting attempting to blow up a VBIED at the Portland Christmas Tree lighting ceremony that could have potentially killed hundreds of American citizens. With the news that an entirely new crop of al-Shabaab recruits has left the country, it seems clear that the problem of radicalization in the Somali community is increasing rapidly.

Yet as I recently reported here, the U.S. government continues to conduct “outreach” to the very individuals responsible for radicalizing these youths and recruiting them for jihad. As the U.S. continues to attack al-Shabaab forces in Somalia and target al-Shabaab leaders, how long before one of these American Somali recruits is tasked to return home and kill Americans?

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Patrick Poole is a national security and terrorism correspondent for PJMedia. Follow me on Twitter.
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