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Minneapolis and San Diego: Six Somali Muslims arrested and indicted for Material Support of ISIS

When we reviewed Erick Stakelbeck’s latest book, ISIS Exposed we wrote:

Tens of thousands of young Muslims across the ummah from Minneapolis in the US, the UK, France, Germany, Russia and even China have been drawn like bees to the holy beehive of the self-declared Caliphate which espouses Islamic purification through ethnic and religious cleansing.

Stakelbeck addressed an important question about why the large unassimilated Somali émigré community in Minneapolis has become the US hub for Al Qaeda and now ISIS recruitment. The shift of Somali émigré young men from traveling to Somali to join Al Shabaab to join ISIS occurred in the last two years facilitated by the ease of travel to Turkey to enter Syria and the attraction of building a Caliphate based on pure Islam.

Yesterday, six Somali émigré young men in their late teens and early 20’s  were arrested  and indicted by the U.S. Attorney in Minneapolis for material support for the Islamic State or ISIS. According to the WSJ report:

All six charged Monday had been arrested Sunday. Four appeared in federal court in St. Paul, Minn.—Adnan Farah, Zacharia Yusuf Abdurahman, Hanad Mustafe Musse and Guled Ali Omar—where the court appointed lawyers. Two others appeared in a San Diego court—Mr. Daud and Mohamed Abdihamid Farah—where they were arrested after driving from Minneapolis. They were ordered held pending a detention hearing this week.

 A seventh Abdi Nur is being separately charged as a recruiter as he successfully traveled to Syria to join and fight for ISIS. It is believed that  email exchanges and calls with the seventh  Somali  émigré young man from  Minneapolis Abdi Nur who successfully traveled  last May to Syria may have provided the evidence for the charges in the indictment of  material support for terrorism.  The FBI was able to connect Nur and two others indicted yesterday,  Daud and Yusuf, because of a police report of an accident involving the vehicle driven by Yusuf.

US Attorney for Minnesota Lugar at Press Conference Source Minneapolis Star Trubune

U.S. Attorney for Minnesota Andrew Luger announcing indictments of Somali émigrés. Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune

Last week we wrote about  Somali émigré Abdirahman Sheik Mohamud from the second largest Somali community in the U.S., Columbus, Ohio who was indicted on federal terrorist  charges following his return from Al Qaeda training in Syria..  Yesterday’s indictments announced by the US Attorney for Minneapolis capped a 10 month investigation.  The Wall Street Journal report on this latest development, illustrated the resourcefulness of those indicted.  Some used student loans to purchase airline tickets to travel to Turkey to enter Syria and join ISIS. The two detained in San Diego were caught trying to enter Mexico from which they intended to travel to Turkey and hence to Syria. Two had traveled by bus from Minneapolis only to be arrested at New York’s JFK Airport.

The WSJ reported the dynamics in this latest terror indictment involving Somali  émigré young men:

“The person radicalizing your son, your brother, your friend may not be a stranger. It may be their best friend right here in town,” Minnesota U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger said, calling the case an example of “peer to peer” terrorist recruiting.

The men, in their late teens and early 20s, faced barriers thrown up by authorities, their parents and others. They were finally ensnared in a security net that included an informant who turned on his former friends, a suspicious passport specialist and a car accident that helped investigators make a crucial link between the men.

The charges highlight what Mr. Luger called “a terror recruiting problem” in Minnesota. The state’s large Somali population has long been a focus of federal investigators targeting Islamic extremism and would-be foreign fighters in the U.S.

“It’s not a Somali problem, it’s not an immigrant problem. It is our problem. It is a Minnesota problem,” he said.

Three other alleged associates of the men, all of Somali descent, had been charged previously.

Watch this WSJ video interviewing one of the reporters, Andrew Goodman, discussing  the latest Somali Émigré ISIS –related indictments involving the Minneapolis community:

Stakelbeck posted these observations on these latest indictments of Somali émigré young men attempting to join ISIS :

Another day, another American arrested for attempting to join ISIS.

Make that six Americans–all young men of Somali descent in their late teens and early 20’s, and all hailing from Minneapolis–arrested by federal agents over the weekend for allegedly planning to travel to Syria and become soldiers in the Islamic State’s sadistic terror army.

This is just the latest in a disturbing series of foiled plots involving U.S. citizens looking to travel overseas to join ISIS, or stay at home and wage jihad on its behalf here on American soil.

Last week, I posted here about an Ohio man, also a Somali Muslim, who had trained in Syria with Islamic terrorists and then returned to the United States, reportedly with orders to carry out attacks on the homeland. His arrest followed similar recent terror-related busts in New YorkPhiladelphiaIllinois and Kansas. Now we have the Minnesota case.

Is anyone else noticing a pattern here? A few quick things to keep in mind:

  • The Twin Cities of Minneapolis-St. Paul are now officially Jihad Central in the United States. As I recount in my latest book “ISIS Exposed” dozens of Somali-Americans have left the Twin Cities in recent years to travel overseas and join terror groups like ISIS and the Al Qaeda linked Al-Shabaab–and some have even carried out suicide bombings. The jihad pipeline from Minnesota to hotspots like Syria and Somalia shows no signs of slowing down.
  • It may shock you to learn that up to 100,000 Somalis live in frosty Minnesota, a state which boasts the largest Somali population in North America. There are also significant Somali populations in Nashville, San Diego, Boston, Columbus, Ohio, Portland, Oregon and (of all places) Lewiston, Maine, thanks in large part to a taxpayer-funded refugee resettlement program run by the U.S. State Department (as explained in detail in Chapter Three of my 2011 book, “The Terrorist Next Door”).
  • I’ve spent a good amount of time on the ground in the Twin Cities’ Somali communities over the past few years reporting for CBN News on the growing jihadi recruitment problem there (watch my most recent reports here and here). My concern is that what we see developing among the Somalis of Minneapolis-St. Paul is similar to what has transpired in Western Europe, where unassimilated, self-segregating Muslim communities have become breeding grounds for Islamic radicalism.
  • Over the past year-and-a-half, the Somali terror group Al-Shabaab has carried out horrific attacks against a shopping mall and a university in Kenya (in both attacks, Christians were specifically targeted). Chillingly, Al-Shabaab has also called for attacks against the Mall of America outside Minneapolis–the largest shopping mall in the United States and a stone’s throw from the city’s Somali-Muslim communities.

Here’s a thought. Suppose the six Somali men who were arrested this weekend decided that, rather than travel to Syria, they’d simply stay put and wage jihad on U.S. soil, acting as what ISIS calls “City Wolves.”

Remember the chaos and carnage just ten men caused when they fanned out across Mumbai, India (the second largest city in the world) armed with assault rifles and bombs in November 2008?

Next Tuesday, April 28th, Stakelbeck will be interviewed by Mike Bates of 1330 AM WEBY Northwest Florida Talk Radio and this writer  on “Your Turn” about  his book, ISIS Exposed and these latest developments  arising from “Jihad Central” in Minneapolis.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.

Minneapolis the U.S. Hub for Islamic State Recruitment?

Abi Nur  on Right in Syria Abdullah Yusuf left -stopped _ Twitter from American w Islamic State

Abdi Nur, right, posted a photo online from Syria. A friend, Abdullah Yusuf, left, was stopped as he tried to depart. Top, an image of Western passports put up by a Twitter user who says she is an American with the Islamic State. Source; New York Times

The Sunday New York Times had a front page story on the chronicle of a pair Somali émigré youths in the Twin Cities, one of whom successfully traveled to Syria to join ISIS, while his friend was stopped before he could board a flight  to join his fellow mujaheddin, “From Minneapolis to ISIS: An American’s Path to Jihad”.   

Abdi Nur was the 20 year old community college attendee who originally wanted to become a lawyer, instead opting for becoming a Jihadist recruit for the Islamic State Caliphate in Raqaa, Syria.  His unlucky comrade, 18 year old, Abdullah Yusuf didn’t make it and finds himself sentenced by the court to the equivalent of a re-education program by a federal judge. Both boys may have been recruited by a youth leader at a Bloomington, Minnesota Al Farooq Mosque.

The article covers the story we wrote about last September concerning  the death of Abdirahmaan Muhumed an ISIS jihadi, a 29 year old  Somali Emigre from Minneapolis, who had airport security access while working as a airline cleaner.  The article attempts to explain what attracted Somali émigré youths and other American Muslims to the Salafist Jihadist Takfir doctrine. Why they were motivated to pick up stakes, abandon their families, cruise IS social media, eventually downloading a veritable Fodor –type guide for Hijrah (immigration) to the Islamic State and obtain free plane tickets to travel to the Caliphate. The Times authors focus on federal investigations and local community intervention and re-education programs that appear to offer few if any relevant answers.

This is the latest story of how  the U.S. humanitarian refugee program, controlled by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, flooded this major Midwestern community with 100,000 East Africa Muslims.  Many of them failed to assimilate into American culture with radical Mosques recruiting dozens of native born jihadists to fight and die for first al Shabaab in Somalia and now for ISIS in Syria. We have written about this repeatedly since 2008. The Times article didn’t delve into how the Somali refugees came to the Twin cities with the assistance of voluntary agencies  paid by the State Department and Department of Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement to process them, provide cash assistance, Medicaid and receive a green card to  eventually citizens. All while many of these Muslim émigrés rejected American values, instead seeking to impose their Sharia law on the host non-Muslim community.

ISIS-ExposedErick Stakelbeck on Tuesday, March 17th, aired his version of this story on CBN’s The Watchman“Minneapolis- the U.S. Capital of ISIS” – a prelude for his latest book, ISIS Exposed: Beheadings, Slavery and the Hellish Realities of Radical Islam, by Regenery Publishing.  We are rapidly ploughing through it and will review it for the April NER; hopefully along with a short interview with Stakelbeck about ISIS and the failure of U.S. policy.  Stakelbeck’s latest book, like his previous books on The Brotherhood; America’s Next Great Enemy and Terrorist Next Door: How the Government is Deceiving You About the Islamist Threat reads like a thriller, but with a very important message. Stakelbeck knows the Somali émigré terror recruit story and how our humanitarian refugee program played a major role in creating the radical Muslim environment in these communities that indoctrinated and recruited these youths. He visits the areas that have the look and feel of Mogadishu in Minnesota. He speaks with frustrated Somali community and former law enforcement officials about the futility of trying to divert these youths from a likely dead end that have befallen dozens who preceded them.  He also delves into what attracts these young American Somali and other Muslim émigrés and converts to follow this delusional self destruction jihadist cause.

Watch Stakelbeck CBN ISIS program.

Last Monday, March 16th, Dr. Michael Welner, Chairman of The Forensic Panel was interviewed on Bill Bennett’s Morning America program about what attracts Western and other foreign Muslims, to join the barbaric cause of the Islamic State. Welner provided insights as to what attracts Islamic State recruits that raise serious questions about the social media messaging initiatives of the Obama Administration. Forensic Psychiatrist Dr. Michael Welner explains the root of ISIS’s appeal and why people continue to join its cause. Listen to this informative YouTube interview with Dr. Welner by Bill Bennett:

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.