A Minnesota man pulled off an airplane bound for Turkey last year has been charged with repeatedly lying to federal agents investigating the recruitment of young US residents to join Islamist militant groups, prosecutors said on Thursday. Hamza Ahmed, 19, and three other young Minnesota men took a bus to New York from Minneapolis where authorities stopped them from leaving on international flights on Nov. 9, FBI Special Agent Daniel Higgins said in court papers.
The charge of making false statements against Ahmed, a Minneapolis resident, was unsealed on Thursday. Ahmed and a man identified by the initials M.F. in a criminal complaint had tickets on the same flight to Istanbul, Turkey, which has been used as a gateway to Syria for people who have fought for Islamic State, the agent said.
He’s not a “Minnesotan,” not in any meaningful cultural sense. He’s not even an American, in the way we used to mean it. He’s an Somali who happens to be resident in Minnesota. There’s a difference, and as much as the politically correct media tries to pretend there isn’t, it’s worth maintaining.
Since 2007, at least 22 young Somali men have also traveled from Minnesota to Somalia to join the terrorist group al-Shabab. Omar Jamal, chief executive of American Friends of Somalia, said he believes the four young men in this case were trying to go to Syria.
“It’s very sad that in spite of everything that’s been said, kids are still leaving, and they are changing tactics,” Jamal said. “They are avoiding the Minneapolis airport, which is very worrisome.”
Minnesota, you’ve got a problem. And so do we all. It’s not simply a matter of a passport. It’s about culture, commitment — and loyalty.