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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.