Minnesota Star Tribune reporters wrote an excellent exposé on young Somali men in Minnesota who were “drawn into ISIL’s campaign of terror.”
In April, 2015, the FBI arrested six young Somali-American men from the Twin Cities, Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota, where the largest number of Somalians in the country live.
They are Guled Omar, Mohamed and Adnan Farah, Zacharia Abdurahman, Hanad Musse (who described himself on social media as a “Servant of Allah”), and Abdirahman Daud.
The Tribune writes of the six teens, “The children often found themselves straddling two worlds — mainstream American society and their insular Muslim households. They didn’t always feel welcome in either one.”
The writers attempt to portray each teen as “normal” who played basketball and video games with friends, and cared for younger siblings. But also, that they were allegedly bullied by others who didn’t like Somalis invading their neighborhoods. Several hundred teens were involved in a fight to which many police responded between Somali and black American students at Minneapolis’ South High School in February 2013. And, the Tribune writes that the teens’ parents said they were spit on and talked down to by their peers.
Even though they might have been in America, “straddling two worlds,” their true calling to jihad was omnipresent. Each knew someone who “heeded the call to jihad.” Omar’s brother and Abdurahman’s cousin were both recruited by the terrorist group, Al-Shabab. And Musse, the Tribune writes,
“posted on his Facebook page several photos of lions — a symbol of jihad. When three Muslims were shot dead at the University of North Carolina in February 2014, Omar took to Twitter: “Can someone define the word Terrorism for me please. #MuslimLivesMatter.”
Apparently these teens caused enough concern for the FBI to be watching them closely for years. They were trying to find a way in to disrupt the “Minnesota-Syria pipeline” of terrorism. They apparently pressured these boys’ families to become confidential informants, all of whom declined. One of the mothers said she felt harassed and that the FBI followed the boys to school every day.
The FBI interviewed Daud twice in 2013 and in December, 2013 answered questions before a federal grand jury.
In 2013, the U.S. attorney subpoenaed his Yahoo e-mail account. The next year, a relative’s T-Mobile account was also subpoenaed. And a court filing from his attorney showed that “throughout 2013 and 2014, the FBI showed a photo of Abdirahman Daud to numerous individuals in the Somali community who were interviewed by the FBI.”
It was just a matter of time, in the spring of 2014 they met to plan how to leave the U.S. and go to Syria, watched violent jihadist and ISIS videos, and followed known Twitter ISIS accounts.
“This is the perfect time … this shows Allah I’m not about this life. I’m going to spit on America at the border crossing.” — Daud
“Nobody is stopping me from that border, any [one] tries to touch me, bro, I swear it’s a fight. … I’m going to shoot them.”– Omar
“Even if I’m caught, I’m done with America. Burn my I.D.” — Farrah
Fortunately, by tracking social media accounts, and their movements, and the use of fake information and bank transfers, the FBI caught most of them. They also had help from one of their friends in California who became a confidential informant and was paid over $40,000 by the FBI to betray his friends.
Over six weeks in 2014, five of them tried to leave the Twin Cities. Daud, Mohamed Farah and the informant attempted to leave via San Diego and were caught, and everyone was arrested. By November 2015, Musse and Abdurahman pleaded guilty and face up to 15 years in prison. They also named their friends as co-conspirators. The Farah brothers were offered deals by the federal government but chose to plead guilty instead and will also get a minimum of 15 years in prison.
Despite these arrests, federal authorities note that terror groups are still actively recruiting in the Twin Cities– even more young men– roughly 100 are in the extremist recruiting pipeline.
And– the Somali community feels “victimized.”
Andrew Luger, the U.S. attorney for Minnesota, Andrew Luger has tried to explain to the Somali community that these men weren’t “entrapped by the informant”– they chose to go to Syria and pursue jihad on their own. “This was their choice,” he said.
Even though $1 million was pumped into “counter extremism” programs in the Somali communities, “local Somali leaders reacted with suspicion, saying the programs are just another way for the government to spy on their people.”
What’s remarkable is that the Somali community is not working with authorities to prevent their youth from becoming jihadists and dying. They blame others for their sons’ actions and complain that they are too young to be behind bars for such a long time.
Why leave Somali to come to America to only have teens return to the same fighting from which they allegedly fled?
The FBI is chasing its tail. Jihadist roots exist in every Islamic community. For every 10 caught, another 100 rise up.
The root of the problem is that Islam is diametrically opposed to freedom and democracy. It cannot coexist with American laws. Islamists will always break western laws because Shari’a law rejects them as valid.
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