Minnesota jihadi got radicalized here

posted at 12:02 pm on February 24, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Last November, the news that a Minneapolis resident had returned to his native Somalia to conduct a suicide bombing attack shocked the Twin Cities.  At the time, we assumed that Shirwa Ahmed had been radicalized before entering the US.  Now the FBI says that Ahmed got recruited right here in Minnesota, and apparently so did a number of his acquaintances — who went missing at about the same time:

The F.B.I. director, Robert S. Mueller III, said Monday that a Somali-American man who was one of several suicide bombers in a terrorist attack last October in Somalia had apparently been indoctrinated into his extremist beliefs while living in the United States.

The man, Shirwa Ahmed, was the first known suicide bomber with American citizenship. He immigrated with his family to the Minneapolis area in the mid-1990s, Mr. Mueller said, but he returned to Somalia after he was recruited by a militant group.

“It appears that this individual was radicalized in his hometown in Minnesota,” Mr. Mueller said, speaking at a meeting of the Council on Foreign Relations. Minneapolis claims the country’s largest Somali population.

A terrorist network, Shahab, has conducted a serious recruitment effort in the Twin Cities.  We have a large Somali refugee community, mainly Muslims, who fled the violence and anarchy of their country.  The dislocation they feel apparently creates an opportunity to exploit them for terrorist ends, as the FBI has discovered.

Rusty at My Pet Jawa says we shouldn’t be surprised to find radicalization here in the US, given the opportunities:

But there are better example than Shirwa Ahmed of the homegrown jihadi phenomenon. In Ahmed’s case one might make a good argument that although he was radicalized here in the US, that his radicalization took place in the context of a what is essentially a foreign community: the Somali diaspora.

Ruben Shumpert [shown right] (aka, “Amir Abdul Muhaimin” called a “martyr” on Shabaab’s official website) was a Seattle convert to Islam, killed on the jihad fields of Somalia. Or how about Daniel Maldonado (aka “Daniel Aljughaifi”), a native born American who converted to Islam, became an active administrator at a popular online Muslim youth forum, and who is now sitting in a federal prison for receiving weapons training from al Qaeda in Somalia.

Another famous homegrown jihadi? Adam Gadahn. He didn’t become jihad supporter after he went to Pakistan. He was radicalized in suburban Orange County and only later went to Pakistan where he eventually hooked up with al Qaeda.

It doesn’t take a genius to find jihadi forums on the Internet, Rusty reminds us, where those open to radicalization can find enablers.  Gadahn and Shumpert certainly prove that case.  However, the Somali diaspora here in the Twin Cities appears to provide fertile ground for such conversion — and we need to find ways to assimilate them more quickly and watch for terrorist recruitment more closely in the future.  Because the next target may not be Somalia, but the Mall of America.


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Bush I blame.

the_nile on February 24, 2009 at 12:04 PM

What, are you saying that it’s their ideology and not time spent in Gitmo that turns people into terrorists?

Somebody better tell the Washington Post about this. Stat!

ExUrbanKevin on February 24, 2009 at 12:08 PM

This is why it’s absolutely necessary to get control of the State department. Everybody knew a lot of those Somalis were radicals but the State Dept. let them in just as they stopped Iraqi Catholics but let in some radical Shiites. .

I have stopped thinking it’s incompetence from the State

promachus on February 24, 2009 at 12:08 PM

Can we finally sell Minnesota to Canada now?

MDWNJ on February 24, 2009 at 12:08 PM

No offense, Ed; but, Minneapolis is starting to get a bit frightening.

yo on February 24, 2009 at 12:09 PM

Which is precisely why we should not let another single Mosque be built in this country. It is a national security issue.

blatantblue on February 24, 2009 at 12:12 PM

By the by, this man wasn’t radicalized. He was brought closer to Islam.

blatantblue on February 24, 2009 at 12:12 PM

Eh, other states have entire rings of jihadis along with training camps, I’m not signing MN up for a yard sale just yet.

Still, we have some really stupid ideas here about assimilation, such as Target allowing a Somali muslim cashier to get another cashier to handle wrapped pork products during customer checkout, and community colleges installing footbaths.

Bishop on February 24, 2009 at 12:13 PM

Another reason to leave Gitmo prisoners in Gitmo. Can you imagine how fast this crap would spread inside a high-security prison?

fiscallyconservative on February 24, 2009 at 12:16 PM

Was this Somali one of the Minnesota cabbies who refused to transport dogs and people with duty free liquor? If so, see what appeasement gets you Minnesota!

Mr. Joe on February 24, 2009 at 12:17 PM

As I predicted- Minnesota will be the first Islamic state in the US.

drjohn on February 24, 2009 at 12:19 PM

Ed, remember when a controversial topic in Minnesota was debating ice fishing techniques and which Lutheran parish served the best lute-fisk dinner?

What the hell happened?

Mr. Joe on February 24, 2009 at 12:19 PM

Can we finally sell give Minnesota to Canada now?

MDWNJ on February 24, 2009 at 12:08 PM

FIFY

zeebeach on February 24, 2009 at 12:20 PM

the next an eventual target may will be the Mall of America

Given decentralized decision-making on jihadi activities, I’m very surprised there hasn’t been an “American Mumbai” yet – many malls or other public gathering places, around the country, simultaneously.

eeyore on February 24, 2009 at 12:22 PM

FIFY

zeebeach on February 24, 2009 at 12:20 PM

Ha! I was just figuring maybe we could get a few bucks in the deal.

MDWNJ on February 24, 2009 at 12:24 PM

Given decentralized decision-making on jihadi activities, I’m very surprised there hasn’t been an “American Mumbai” yet – many malls or other public gathering places, around the country, simultaneously.

eeyore on February 24, 2009 at 12:22 PM

This is because the Muslims and Muslim orgs. here have realized the futility of bloodshed (right now) in the US. They’ve settled on a political and social jihad. That is, making us capitulate to their backwards customs and traditions.

Making us place Islam on a pedestal above other religions, etc.

If you attack the US, you wake the sleeping giant. They tried 9/11 and have subsequently lost so many thousands and thousands of their soldiers. They know quiet, and as Robert Spencer penned, “Stealthy” Jihad is the only way to eventual domination of the West.

blatantblue on February 24, 2009 at 12:24 PM

I live in the St. Paul suburbs. I coached a Somali kid on my son’s basketball team. Great kid, cooperative, friendly, good family. The kid may have been born elsewhere, but he’s a Minnesota kid. Most Somali kids I’ve met are the same way.

Mr. D on February 24, 2009 at 12:27 PM

blatantblue on February 24, 2009 at 12:12 PM

I agree..no more mosques.

becki51758 on February 24, 2009 at 12:28 PM

The dislocation they feel apparently creates an opportunity to exploit them for terrorist ends, as the FBI has discovered.

feeeelings….that’s it

why is it, that other immigrants, from the Philippines and Korea, for example, or those from the former iron curtain countries such as Poland, Slovakia, Estonia, etc, and countless others who landed on these shores did not let their feeling of dislocation send them to a terrorist camp or on a suicide bombing mission?

runner on February 24, 2009 at 12:28 PM

But,,,but,,but,,,,it’s just a small minority who hijacked a beautiful religion….

ROPMA – even here in the good ole USA. I’m currently looking to buy another firearm( a Springfield XD subcompact 9 for concealed carry) and things like this are the reason.
And to think that I thought the militia people back in the late 80′s were all nuts. The longer I’m on this earth, the more I think that like Orwell, they were ahead of their time. Holy moley.

OwlorNothing on February 24, 2009 at 12:33 PM

I wouldn’t be surprised if he went to MCTC (Minneapolis Community and Technical College). The way the administration there bends over to accomodate Muslims is appalling. I never felt safe there among the male Somalis – they radiated hatred towards white women.

Not surprised about this happening in Minneapolis. Not.One.Bit.

Blue-eyed Infidel on February 24, 2009 at 12:34 PM

eeyore….i hope they know that alot of Americans( or at least many Southerners) are armed and carrying. Perhaps those in Mubai were not? I don’t know. All I know is that I wish I would read the whole thread before commenting and save you good people my multiple posts. haha soooreee

OwlorNothing on February 24, 2009 at 12:35 PM

Ha! I was just figuring maybe we could get a few bucks in the deal.

MDWNJ on February 24, 2009 at 12:24 PM

Are you Scottish or Finnish? (no, I’m not a racist!)

zeebeach on February 24, 2009 at 12:35 PM

runner on February 24, 2009

I think some of this is generational. My in-laws came from Poland in 1949, learned English as fast as possible, assimilated, went to work, raised their families, became proud citizens and most are buried here. Some (most definitely not all)recent Polish immigrants that I know personally are amazed and resentful that the world is not being handed to them without any effort on their part.
Of course, this doesn’t explain muslim radicals. I don’t think anything can.

SKYFOX on February 24, 2009 at 12:40 PM

I had no idea I lived in the middle of a radical Jihad hotbed. This is not the MN I knew.

richard_223 on February 24, 2009 at 12:58 PM

Try to assimilate them? We would be betraying the twin gods diversity and multiculturalism.

richard_223 on February 24, 2009 at 1:00 PM

I live in the St. Paul suburbs. I coached a Somali kid on my son’s basketball team. Great kid, cooperative, friendly, good family. The kid may have been born elsewhere, but he’s a Minnesota kid. Most Somali kids I’ve met are the same way.

It is not the majority’s desire that matters, but who has the most intense desire.

This is a fundamental point that applies to many issues. I’ve used it often against neoconservatives on the immigration issue. The neocons will say, “Most immigrants don’t want multiculturalism.” I answer, “Even if what you’re saying is true, it’s not ‘most’ that counts, it’s the elite that counts.” As obvious as this may seem to people with a modicum of common sense, it is hard for modern, democracy-oriented, poll-driven intellectuals to understand. Being liberals, they think that all people are equal, and therefore that all people’s opinions are of equal importance, and therefore that the majority opinion within a group expresses that group’s true tendency. In reality, a minority that has conviction, passion, or, obviously, power on its side is more important than a majority that merely has opinion on its side. Throughout history, battles have been won by the army that had fewer men, but more belief in the rightness of their cause. Every Sunday, football games are won, not by the team that has the better stats, but by the team that has the greater will to win, a.k.a. The Force. These basic realities of human existence are invisible to liberals and neoconservatives, who live in a dessicated world where nothing is real except abstract slogans.

2Brave2Bscared on February 24, 2009 at 1:16 PM

Who are we to judge?

jeff_from_mpls on February 24, 2009 at 1:26 PM

Of course, this doesn’t explain muslim radicals. I don’t think anything can.

SKYFOX on February 24, 2009 at 12:40 PM

It’s in the Koran

aengus on February 24, 2009 at 1:26 PM

2Brave2Bscared on February 24, 2009 at 1:16 PM

Guess this kid doesn’t have free will, nor does his family. Sorry I bothered, then — we’ll just have to airbrush the kid out of the team picture.

Mr. D on February 24, 2009 at 1:36 PM

Mr. D. enjoyed coaching a Somali kid. Of course, Mr. D is male and so was the Somali kid. Correct?

My son became friends with a Muslim student who was very western in dress and attitude. He was smart and kind. He had to go back home one weekend to take a look at the man his family was marrying his sister to. She didn’t want to, since she was sixteen and he was in his forties, but oh well.

They’ll play soccer with you, and seem very nice, until it is time to behead you.

bonnie_ on February 24, 2009 at 1:37 PM

Mr. D on February 24, 2009 at 1:36 PM

I guess you missed the point. Too bad.

2Brave2Bscared on February 24, 2009 at 1:47 PM

If you attack the US, you wake the sleeping giant.
blatantblue on February 24, 2009 at 12:24 PM

Yeah, well the Big Guy is has really been cuttin’ the zzz’s lately.

Seems that 9/11 was just a snooze button event.

Not surprised about this happening in Minneapolis. Not.One.Bit.
Blue-eyed Infidel on February 24, 2009 at 12:34 PM

I’m with you Blue-eyes. I almost fell off my chair when I saw the Strib this morning. How this story leaked past the PC Police on Portland is amazing.

Bruno Strozek on February 24, 2009 at 1:50 PM

I guess we’ll have to find someone else to write the stimulus bill.

Grafted on February 24, 2009 at 2:13 PM

I guess you missed the point. Too bad.

2Brave2Bscared on February 24, 2009 at 1:47 PM

No, I got the point just fine. The kid wanted to play basketball, his family paid the money to play in the in-house league that I coach in and I and my fellow coaches did our best to make sure he had the best experience he could.

Is there some sort of elite that might get this kid to join a jihad some day? Sure, that’s possible. But this isn’t a matter of “a dessicated world where nothing is real except abstract slogans” – this is a real 13-year old kid who is living in Minnesota in 2009. It was my responsibility to coach this kid and teach him how to play basketball. And if the kid ends up beheading me some day, as Bonnie suggests, so be it.

Mr. D on February 24, 2009 at 2:15 PM

SKYFOX on February 24, 2009 at 12:40 PM

It’s the religion. My wife is Polish (moved here 3 years ago to get her 2nd Master’s) and is disgusted that people here take everything for granted. She works on her English everyday and is now working at my university in the international student program. She sees on a daily basis how the different countries react to life in America. The students from eastern europe actively try to fit in with America while she has to field daily complaints and requests from the students from the middle east.

txaggie on February 24, 2009 at 2:16 PM

They’ll play soccer with you, and seem very nice, until it is time to behead you.

bonnie_ on February 24, 2009 at 1:37 PM

Bingo. It’s not that Muslims necessary want to kill people, especially when they are children.
But when you live & breath the Koran, it eventually gets to most if not all of them at sometime if they remain faithful to the religion/political system that is Islam.
I have met Satanists who are very nice people, as well as others in different belief systems.
This unholy book called the Koran is why they hate & kill us infidels.
MN is a place for them to seek refuge. It is really ironic that they flee here to escape the horrors of their homeland, & then fight to bring the horrors to where they set up shop away from home.
I see a very few Muslims in Bismarck ND on occasion & also in Fargo. And I treat them as I would any other human being I meet.
But we should not allow these people to take advantage of our free society to bring their brand of political ideology to fruition here.
If you can’t assimilate to our culture, stay the hell home & change things to the way you want them in your own back yard!

Badger40 on February 24, 2009 at 2:17 PM

It was my responsibility to coach this kid and teach him how to play basketball. And if the kid ends up beheading me some day, as Bonnie suggests, so be it.

Mr. D on February 24, 2009 at 2:15 PM

I agree, you should be able to deal with Muslims normally.
It’s only when we see them behaving in ways that are anti-assimilation that we should act.
If I’m coaching a kid who starts proselytizing how girls shouldn’t be on the team, or how his game snacks cannot be eaten bcs they were made by an infidel, that’s the time you kick him the hell off of the team for his anti-secular behavior.
The muslims I’ve seen in Bismarck are girls & one played basketball on a friend’s team. The girl’s head & arms & legs were always covered, but not her face ever & she was treated like everyone else. Her parents didn’t seem to want preferential treatment.
But the minute people ask for preferential treatment is the day everyone in the community needs to rise up & denounce it & not cave into it.

Badger40 on February 24, 2009 at 2:21 PM

There are 35 Islamic terrorist training camps on our soil and neither the Bush administration nor the Obama administration are doing anything about it. Oh it’s true!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BucilebZsdw

Do not be surprised by the coming attacks! So I ask you, where are our militia training camps?

CrusaderPatriot.com

CrusaderPatriot on February 24, 2009 at 2:25 PM

The F.B.I. director, Robert S. Mueller III, said Monday that a Somali-American man who was one of several suicide bombers in a terrorist attack last October in Somalia

This is very disturbing. They could have upset the vibrant Somalian economy.

mankai on February 24, 2009 at 2:45 PM

CrusaderPatriot on February 24, 2009 at 2:25 PM

In this case, Bush is partly to blame. He went into full Islamic-love after 9/11, hugging any Imam he could get his hands on. This is also the reason Iraq became a mess… he didn’t want any mosques damaged. I’m surprised we were able to bomb anything.

Shockingly, AQ and the other Iraqi militants used mosques for military purposes (hard to believe, I know, but it’s true).

mankai on February 24, 2009 at 2:50 PM

And if the kid ends up beheading me some day, as Bonnie suggests, so be it.

Mr. D on February 24, 2009 at 2:15 PM

Well then, Mr. D, if your OK with that, then I’m OK with that.

Just so we’re clear: I’m not OK with with “the kids” beheading my hoops-playing son, my wife, my friends, my neighbors, relatives or my dog.

BTW, does the D stand for dhimmi? :-)

Bruno Strozek on February 24, 2009 at 2:55 PM

Once a church (mosque, temple, synagogue) gets involved in the political arena they should then forfeit their rights as a church and take on the rights of a political group. Then they can be properly dealt with because it is not a separation of church and state issue.

DL13 on February 24, 2009 at 2:58 PM

Just so we’re clear: I’m not OK with with “the kids” beheading my hoops-playing son, my wife, my friends, my neighbors, relatives or my dog.

BTW, does the D stand for dhimmi? :-)

Bruno Strozek on February 24, 2009 at 2:55 PM

I’m not okay with it, Bruno. I do suspect that we’ll have a better chance of avoiding that fate if we actually engage those Muslims in our midst. There are thousands of Somalis here in the Twin Cities. They are not a monolithic group, either, any more than my Irish forbears were when they came over on the coffin ships in the 1840s.

My kids attend school in a fairly affluent suburban district and there are Somali kids in every classroom. They aren’t going away. Unless someone is willing to round up all the Somalis and send them someplace else, we’d better damned well learn how to live with them. And coaching basketball isn’t a bad place to start.

Mr. D on February 24, 2009 at 3:26 PM

we’d better damned well learn how to live with them

He’s right. Look how well diversity is working out in Europe.

mankai on February 24, 2009 at 3:35 PM

He’s right. Look how well diversity is working out in Europe.

mankai on February 24, 2009 at 3:35 PM

You have a better idea? I’d love to hear it.

Mr. D on February 24, 2009 at 3:45 PM

Was this Somali one of the Minnesota cabbies who refused to transport dogs and people with duty free liquor? If so, see what appeasement gets you Minnesota!

Mr. Joe on February 24, 2009 at 12:17 PM

An fyi, as I recall those cabbies weren’t appeased. The Airport Commission stood strong and told them they had to go to the back of the line for their next fare if they refused to transport someone. On another note, my kids go to a large suburban high school and tell me there are certain bathrooms you avoid during the day because you’ll either get a dirty look from the Somali’s who are in them using the toilets and sinks to wash their feet, or the bathroom is unusable because it’s left in such a mess from those practices. There is definitely a sense of entitlement that’s quite disturbing and unique among this particular ethnic group.

fanofamerica on February 24, 2009 at 4:01 PM

My kids attend school in a fairly affluent suburban district and there are Somali kids in every classroom. They aren’t going away. Unless someone is willing to round up all the Somalis and send them someplace else, we’d better damned well learn how to live with them. And coaching basketball isn’t a bad place to start.

Mr. D on February 24, 2009 at 3:26 PM

D-Man:
It’s great you’re coaching hoops & trying to the Melting Pot route. I’m all for cultural assimilation. But that’s a two-way street, as the Irish (Swedes, Germans, Hmong etc) well know.
Trouble is, here in the inner city where I hang my hat, there ain’t no assimilation happening. It’s not racial, it’s religious.
My kid goes to a Mpls. school where diversity has really worked out fine: the Somali’s pretty much exclusively hang with Somali’s, distain white and Hispanic kids and positively have contempt for the black kids.
And nobody is suggesting “rounding ‘em up”, so let’s dispense with that straw man, shall we?
It’s pollyanna to think there aren’t a good number of Somali’s who wish us harm. Drop by the immigrant coffee houses over near the U or by Cedar-Riverside. The hate coming at you is palpable, and it doesn’t have anything to do with being “oppressed by the man”. To them an infidel & inferior, and it galls them that you even exist.
It doesn’t do anyone any good to pretend otherwise, ‘cuz all it does it limit your options and make you a more compliant target.
Jeez, Coach, get your head in the game…

Bruno Strozek on February 24, 2009 at 4:25 PM

It’s pollyanna to think there aren’t a good number of Somali’s who wish us harm. Drop by the immigrant coffee houses over near the U or by Cedar-Riverside. The hate coming at you is palpable, and it doesn’t have anything to do with being “oppressed by the man”. To them an infidel & inferior, and it galls them that you even exist.
It doesn’t do anyone any good to pretend otherwise, ‘cuz all it does it limit your options and make you a more compliant target.
Jeez, Coach, get your head in the game…

Bruno Strozek on February 24, 2009 at 4:25 PM

Okay, so what do you suggest we do, then? Telling me to get my head in the game doesn’t provide a solution, now does it? And I sure the hell don’t think this is some “oppressed by the Man” thing either, because clearly that’s not the case. So we’re tied at one straw man apiece, it would appear.

So the question remains – do you engage the Somalis as human beings, or do you just leave them in their coffee houses in Cedar-Riverside?

Mr. D on February 24, 2009 at 4:44 PM

So the question remains – do you engage the Somalis as human beings, or do you just leave them in their coffee houses in Cedar-Riverside?

Mr. D on February 24, 2009 at 4:44 PM

If you’re having success with kids on the team, more power to you. So do your best while you have them. I’m with ya!

But you’re swimming against the tide when you go up against the mosque, the imams and the elders that see these kids as fodder for the jihad. (Over there now, over here, when?)

BTW, those poor saps who went back to Somalia weren’t 14 year old kids. The were young adults, making the worst decision of their short lives.

No intervention would have saved them, as their grieving families attest.

As for getting your head in the game, this will help:
Knowing the Enemy: Jihadist Ideology and the War on Terror
By Mary R. Habeck
Published by Yale University Press, 2006
ISBN 0300113064, 9780300113068

243 pages

Bruno Strozek on February 24, 2009 at 5:11 PM