Minnesota Somalis Battle Terror Recruiters for Young Souls

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Abdirizak Bihi paces the courtyard of Riverside Plaza in Minneapolis, awaiting his children's arrival from school.

Dirt blows freely down Cedar Avenue as piss-colored newspapers dance in the wind. In the shade of a tree stand a slouching man and a woman with cavernous eyes, locked in stormy debate.

The woman wags a finger and stomps the ground, her leathery voice scaring the pigeons. The man, known in the neighborhood as Salid, named for a Somali village so small that you won't find it on a map, responds to her anger with a bemused smile that creeps across his pudgy face.

To an outsider, their words are indecipherable. Except two: al-Shabab. It's regarded as a terrorist organization by the West, an al-Qaeda ally engaged in combat against the Somali government and African Union soldiers. When translated, the phrase literally means "the youth," a rather innocent sobriquet for hardline Islamists who kill aid workers, shoot up shopping malls, and bomb United Nations facilities.

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U.S. Attorney Andy Luger Promises to Bring Minnesota Somali Activists to White House

Categories: Somalis
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Jesse Marx
Abdirizak Bihi, left, and Ilhan Omar, speaking Sunday at the Brian Coyle Community Center
Earlier this month, U.S. Attorney Andy Luger announced that the Twin Cities would be the site of a new anti-terror pilot program. It came in response to reports of three young people who've recently disappeared or died fighting with ISIS (otherwise known as ISIL).

If Luger has been vague on the details, that's because he hasn't yet figured them out. But he doesn't intend to do that by himself.

See also:
Franken, McFadden slug it out over Minnesota's connections to radical Islam



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Franken, McFadden slug it out over Minnesota's connections to radical Islam

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On the same day news broke about the second Minnesotan who died fighting for ISIS in Syria having a security clearance at MSP, Sen. Al Franken wrote a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder dinging Obama for not doing enough to prevent Minnesotans from traveling to the Middle East and putting their lives on the line for the cause of radical Islam.

"I was troubled by the President's recent suggestion that the Administration has not yet developed a comprehensive strategy to address the growing threat of ISIL's activities in Syria," Franken wrote earlier this week (ISIL and ISIS are both acronyms for the same group). "The Justice Department should focus its resources and efforts in places where terrorism recruitment efforts may be happening at higher rates, such as Minnesota. In addition, the Justice Department should coordinate with the State Department and the Homeland Security Department to prevent Americans from traveling abroad to join forces with ISIL."

See also:
Al-Shabaab recruitment video features men who traveled from Mpls to Somalia for jihad


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Second Minnesotan to die fighting for ISIS in Syria reportedly had security clearance at MSP

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Abdirahmaan Muhumed pic via Facebook
Abdirahmaan Muhumed grew up in Minneapolis, but he became the second Minnesotan to die fighting for ISIS in Syria this summer. (We wrote about the first, Douglas McCain, a week ago.)

But perhaps the scariest aspect of Muhumed's story is what he was reportedly doing for work before leaving America. According to Fox 9, he worked at MSP cleaning planes and had a security clearance giving him unfettered access to the airport's tarmac.

See also:
Michele Bachmann is worried about Somali terrorists attacking the Mall of America [AUDIO]


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U of M report finds high autism rates among Somali and white children in Minneapolis

Categories: Somalis, U of M
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Colin Kloecker
Riverside Plaza on the West Bank.
The fears started in 2008: That autism in Minnesota was more prevalent among Somali children. In 2009, the New York Times wrote, "Autism is terrifying the community of Somali immigrants in Minneapolis."

On Monday, the U of M released the largest-ever study related to autism in the Somali community, and it finally puts some numbers to the mystery. The report found that in Minneapolis, the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder is higher among two particular groups: Somali children and white children.

See Also:
- The Minnesota Disease: Autism in the Somali community
- Minnesota Somali families facing autism


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Jon Stewart rips Fox News over coverage of Star Tribune story

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Screenshot of the Daily Show with Jon Stewart
The morning talk show Fox & Friends took issue Monday with a Strib story about a St. Paul YMCA swim class for Muslim girls that was organized with the support of police.

"The minority becoming the majority at one community pool," says newsreader Heather Nauert. "Sharia law is now changing everything."

The segment was short but absurd enough to catch the eye of the Daily Show's Jon Stewart. In the clip below, the camera cuts from Nauert to Stewart, whose shrieking fills the gap in sound where, in some campy horror movie, a pounding of piano keys might have followed.

SEE ALSO: Fox News turns to Minnesota Majority, pro-voter ID group, for "objective" analysis [VIDEO]


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Michele Bachmann is worried about Somali terrorists attacking the Mall of America [AUDIO]

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Ron Paul was on to something here...
Last December, Michele Bachmann went on Jan Markell's radio show and said she spent 2012 fretting about the Obama administration's alleged efforts to implement Sharia law here in the United States.

SEE ALSO: The Onion's "Bachmann Thankful No Americans Died In Sikh Shooting" story dupes dozens

Over the weekend, she returned to the show, which discusses "current events in light of biblical end-time prophecy," and said she thinks the end times are indeed upon us. She also seconded Markell's worry that radical Somalis might attempt a Kenya-style terrorist attack at the Mall of America. So, on the whole, it was pretty uplifting stuff.

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What we know about Minnesota's connection to the Kenya mall massacre

Categories: Somalis
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Mukhtar Ibrahim on Twitter
A video released last month by al-Shabaab showed this photo of Kastigar, a young man who was recruited from Minnesota to jihad and martyrdom in East Africa.
On Sunday, reports circulated that two Somali men who recently lived in Minnesota may have taken part in al-Shabaab's massacre of more than 60 civilians at the Westgate mall in Nairobi, Kenya.

But later reports indicated the purportedly Shabaab-managed Twitter account that linked the Minnesota to the attack was a fake. Below the jump, we analyze what we know and don't know at this point about a possible local connection to the carnage.

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Two Minnesotans may be among attackers in Kenyan mall massacre

Categories: Religion, Somalis
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Still from a recruitment video featuring the stories of three men who traveled from Minneapolis to Somalia for jihad.
Two Minnesotans may be among the group that slaughtered shoppers of Nairobi's Westgate mall this weekend with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades.

An English-language Twitter account purporting to speak for al-Shabab, Somalia's al-Qaeda affiliate, live-tweeted the massacre. Before the social-networking service shut down the feed, it claimed to identify 10 of the gunmen, including three Americans in their 20s.

SEE ALSO: Al-Shabaab recruitment video features men who traveled from Mpls to Somalia for jihad

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Al-Shabaab recruitment video features men who traveled from Mpls to Somalia for jihad

Categories: Somalis
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This still from the video shows when Dahir Gure left Minnesota and when he died in Somalia.
Al-Shabaab's latest recruitment video features the stories of three men who traveled from Minneapolis to Somalia for jihad.

All three men left for Somalia in 2007 or 2008 and were dead within two years.

SEE ALSO: Military contractor reportedly proposed "psy-ops" against Mpls Somali's "extremist" website

In the video, Troy Kastigar, a Native American who converted to Islam in 2004, tells viewers, "This is the real Disney Land."

"You need to come over here, join us, and take pleasure in this fun," Kastigar adds.

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