Tags: Al-Qaida | Immigration | ISIS/Islamic State | War on Terrorism | somalis | refugees | minnesota

FBI: Terror Groups Targeting Somali Refugees in Minnesota

Wednesday, 25 February 2015 08:17 AM

In the wake of the terror alert for shopping malls in America, the FBI has warned that Islamic terror groups are targeting tens of thousands of refugees from war-torn Somalia who have settled in Minnesota.

The Islamic State and al-Shabab, a Somali organization linked to al-Qaida, have raised terrorism fears in the U.S. while attempting to radicalize troubled young Somalis in the Midwestern state, according to The Washington Times.

The concerns were heightened this week after al-Shabab released an online video encouraging jihadists to launch attacks against shopping malls around the world, including the famed Mall of America in Minnesota.

"We have definitely seen targeted terror recruitment videos, videos aimed and targeted directly at the youth here in Minnesota primarily within the Somali community," said Kyle Loven, an FBI spokesman in Minneapolis.

"They’re going after disaffected youth — those who are isolated. We can’t get into specifics, but we’ve been involved in major investigations since 2007 and continue to be."

The FBI is taking the shopping mall threat seriously in light of the fact that al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack on the Westgate shopping mall in Kenya two years ago, which left 67 people dead.

With more than 30,000 Somalis being relocated by the State Department to Minnesota in recent years, an enclave of alienated immigrants has arisen with high levels of unemployment that has put a severe strain on the state’s security and welfare resources, the Times reported.

The immigrants' plight has opened the door for terror factions hoping to recruit struggling Somalis who have settled in the state, which has the largest concentration of immigrants from the embattled African nation.

More than 1,100 refugees were shipped to Minnesota last year alone, with many of them being relocated around the Twin Cities. Minneapolis, in fact, has been dubbed Little Mogadishu after the African country’s capital, according to the State Department and U.S. Census Bureau.

Somali refugees and Somali-Americans have been convicted in several cases of helping Islamic terror groups or being recruited by them to fight overseas, the Times reported.

Some 40 men from Minneapolis have joined Islamist terror groups since 2008, the paper reported, citing federal authorities. They include Douglas McCain, an African-American convert to Islam who died last year fighting with the Islamic State in Syria, and Troy Kastigar, thought to be a schoolfriend of McCain's, who was killed in 2009 fighting with ISIS in Somalia.

A Somali refugee who had lived in Minneapolis also reportedly took part in a suicide bombing that hit the Ethiopian Consulate in Mogadishu in 2008.

Another carried out a suicide attack against African peacekeepers in 2011, The New York Times reported.

Minnesota was selected by the State Department to house a large number of African immigrants because of the generous welfare and charity programs within the state, with which the government agency does business.

"Minnesota is exceptional in many ways but it’s the closest thing in the United States to a true social democratic state," Ahmed Samatar, a professor of international studies at Macalester College in St. Paul, told the newspaper.

"That translates into the way Somali refugees have been received here — they’ve been given a secure environment, housing, education, health care, perhaps even some minimum income to sustain them until they can stand on their own feet. That’s all provided by Minnesota."

Despite a good job market in the state, officials report that only 41 percent of Somali men and 54 percent of Somali women are employed, the Times reported.

"It seems safe to assume that if they’re not working, then they’re likely receiving public welfare benefits," said Peter Nelson, director of public policy at the Center of the American Experiment.

"More problematic, the Somali men not working are clearly not integrating as well as they could with society, which could feed into them being radicalized and recruited to fight with" the Islamic State.

Newsmax correspondent Elliot Jager contributed to this story.

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In the wake of the terror alert for shopping malls in America, the FBI has warned that Islamic terror groups are targeting tens of thousands of refugees from war-torn Somalia who have settled in Minnesota.
somalis, refugees, minnesota, mall of america, al-qaida, terror
Wednesday, 25 February 2015 08:17 AM
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