Going back to 2007, I’ve reported on the growing problem of terror recruitment in the Twin Cities, particularly in the Somali community there.
In December 2007 I reported here at PJ Media on a well-attended terror fundraiser held in a prominent hotel in downtown Minneapolis that Homeland Security was warned about, but did nothing to prevent. Note that this was nearly a year before anyone else in the media was even paying attention to the recruitment of Somalis by foreign terrorist organizations.
Fast-forward to July 2009, and the media only then began reporting that the same meeting I had covered a year and a half before was the tipping point for terror recruitment in the Twin Cities. By that time, nearly two dozen young men had already been recruited and were fighting with Al-Shabaab in Somalia.
I have continued to report on that continued terror recruitment, including suicide bombers recruited from the streets of Minneapolis, and the extremist statements made by prominent Islamic leaders in the community.
More recently, I reported here on the failed jihadist deradicalization program set up by the chief federal judge of the District of Minnesota.
And in my article earlier this week on the rapidly escalating number of terror arrests in the U.S., I noted that many of the terror suspects nabbed by law enforcement this year for attempting to travel overseas to join ISIS have come out of Minneapolis.
Now comes documentary producer Ami Horowitz, who went to Minneapolis and conducted interviews with members of the Somali community there, finding widespread support for Islamic law over American law, as well as blasphemy laws limiting the First Amendment to punish depictions of Muhammad.
Back in November 2013, I appeared in an episode of The Blaze TV’s “For The Record” news magazine program talking about how court documents in many of these terror cases reveal the systematic recruitment inside the largest mosque in Minnesota, Masjid Abubakar As-Saddique.
In the following clip from that episode, “Minnesota Martyrs,” Abdirizak Bihi — whose nephew was recruited and killed fighting with Al-Shabaab, and I talk about the dozens of terror recruits tied to that mosque:
The problem of terror recruitment and promotion of widespread extremist ideologies in the Somali community is not an abstract concept for me, as my own hometown of Columbus, Ohio, has also seen a series of terror arrests over the years. Columbus has the second largest Somali population of any city in the country behind Minneapolis.
In November 2007, Columbus resident Nuradin Abdi pled guilty to his role in an Al-Qaeda terror cell in my city. According to court documents, Abdi and his associates discussed attacking an area shopping mall on “Black Friday,” the busiest shopping day of the year. Sentenced to 10 years in prison, Abdi was released in 2012 and deported back to Somalia.
Then in September 2010, I reported here on Dahir Gurey, another Columbus resident, who was killed in a firefight in Mogadishu fighting as a senior commander for Al-Shabaab. I noted that local authorities had been made aware of Gurey’s fundraising and recruiting for Al-Shabaab but declined to do anything about it because of his close ties to Islamic religious leaders who were favored by local political figures. Gurey was later featured in an Al-Shabaab propaganda recruitment video on three American recruits to the terror group called “The Path to Paradise.” Yet as I noted, the local media, namely the Columbus Dispatch, continued to downplay the terror recruitment problem in our city.
And just last month I reported on the case of Abdirahman Sheik Mohamud, again from the Columbus area, who had traveled to Syria to fight with the Islamic State and had returned to conduct terror attacks in the homeland — the first known case of an ISIS terror recruit returning home with plans to engage in terror domestically. His brother was reportedly killed fighting with ISIS last June. Upon Mohamud’s return to Columbus last year, he began conducting weapons training classes at a local gun range with other prospective recruits, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The widespread support for Islamic law highlighted in Horowitz’s video above shows the ideological breeding ground that these recruits are eventually drawn from.
With terror arrests this year alone approaching all-time highs and the growing acceptance of the worldview that radicalizes these individuals, it seems clear that the terror recruitment problem in Minneapolis, Columbus, and many other cities around the country will continue for the foreseeable future.