Sheriff Rich Stanek Offers Congress a Kinder, Gentler Approach to Terrorism

Categories: Crime, Somalis

Elsa Hoover
Stanek chilling at the Woman's Club.

Washington tends to have a fairly top-down, Cold War view of how to combat homegrown Islamic terrorists: amp up the spying and boost the FBI presence in cities like Minneapolis.

But Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek brought a more empathetic, insightful take when he testified before Congress yesterday. As the only guy in the room who regularly pounds the pavement for ISIS recruiters, he urged Washington to think of Somalis as less like Japanese-Americans during World War II, and more like precious allies.

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

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Three Streets in Cedar-Riverside Bestowed Commemorative Somali Names

Categories: Somalis

Image via Abdi Salah, via Sahan Journal Facebook page
A crowd of Somalis packed into City Council chambers to watch the Planning Commission approve the name change
The influx of Somali immigrants concentrated in Cedar-Riverside have started flexing their political muscle. First, Abdi Warsame was elected to Minneapolis City Council in 2013, and then Mohamud Noor gave Phyllis Kahn, a 42-year veteran of the state house, her first real competition in years during the last Democratic primary.

Now a proposal working through city approval will bestow commemorative Somali names on three streets surrounding Riverside Plaza.

See also:
Minnesota Somalis Battle Terror Recruiters for Young Souls

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Minnesota Somalis Battle Terror Recruiters for Young Souls


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
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

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

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
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

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]

bachmann islam rect.jpg
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
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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