A growing body of evidence suggests that Somali communities in the Unites States have become fertile ground for terrorist groups to recruit and implant operatives.
On November 23, the federal government announced eight more indictments of Somali-Americans in Minnesota on charges of recruiting members of their community to join the al-Shabaab terrorist organization in Somalia. This brings to 14 the number of Somalis from Minnesota who have been indicted for helping the Al-Qaeda-linked group.
Of the eight indicted, only one has been arrested; the rest are currently outside of the United States.
Four of those previously arrested have pled guilty and two have been released while they wait to be tried. The government believes that about 20 Somali-Americans have left the state to join al-Shabaab’s jihad in Somalia, at least three of whom have died since departing. One, Shirwa Ahmed, died when he became the first American suicide bomber.
Several of those indicted attended the Abubakar As-Saddique Islamic Center in St. Paul, as did many of those who were recruited.
The mosque released a statement in March saying that “Abubakar Center didn’t recruit, finance, or otherwise facilitate in any way, shape, or form the travel of those youth.”
Somali gangs are also becoming an issue in Minnesota. Shukri Adan, a former Somali community organizer, said in 2007 that there 400-500 members of his community were involved in gangs.