“They (imams) were telling us, ‘One day, we’ll take over the whole world.” As a new round of congressional hearings focuses in on the terror group al-Shabaab in Somalia, former recuits tell of the connection between a local mosque and the recruitment of Somali youths, some as young as 16.
FOX NEWS Marsel said he was trained by al-Quaeda for a group that would later become known as al-Shabaab. At training camp, there were religious lectures at night and terrorism classes by day, he said.
Sharif Mohamed Umal is a controversial and charismatic leader based in Kenya, and one of his numerous lectures from Nairobi was delivered via satellite straight into Abubakar As-Saddique Islamic Center in Minneapolis. From one of Umal’s lectures focusing on Muslims living among infidels. “What we need is the average Muslim to be true to what he has in his heart. That is, to be with the righteous against the evil people,” the recording says.
Abdi Bihi is a community leader who has long warned that some of the so-called scholarly lectures at Abubakar As-Saddique Islamic Center were not only divisive, but are also potentially dangerous. “He is radical to the bone,” Bihi said of Umal. “This guy is building the fundamental beliefs of this community and these young people,” Bihi said. “He’s laying down the bricks of radicalization. That’s his job.”
The iPod containing the recording belonged to one of the Minneapolis teenagers who vanished from Minnesota nearly three years ago, presumably to go fight in Somalia. His parents did not want to be identified, but said he attended religious school at Abubakar As-Saddique for years and believe that is where he downloaded the lectures.
Known as Smiley, the Minneapolis cab driver was a recruiter for al-Shabaab and conducted teleconferences with the group at a mosque believed to be Abubakar As-Saddique. Among those recruited, Faraah Beledi, a former gang member known as Bloody, who lived up to his name two months ago when he blew himself at a checkpoint in Somalia. Beledi killed himself and three others in the attack.
Beledi was once a volunteer for youth programs at Abubakar As-Saddique Islamic Center, and was even a speaker at one of the mosque’s open houses held after another man who attended the mosque, Shirwa Ahmed, became the first American suicide bomber in an attack that killed 22 in Somalia.
It was that event that caught the attention of the FBI three years ago, according to Donald Oswald, who is the new man in charge of the Minneapolis FBI office. “You hit it on the head when you said they could, in fact, do the same activity in this country,” Oswald said. “Whether it’s a lone-wolf syndrome, that is a problem.
Another group of Somali-Americans from Minnesota just left to wage Jihad with Al-Shabaab Terror Group.
CONFIRMATION of this new crop of al-Shabaab recruits comes from award-winning Kenyan journalist Fatuma Noor, who met up with the ten new recruits ranging in age from 17 to 24 years old in Nairobi and then Northern Kenya as they were on their way to cross the border into Somalia. In her current three-part series in the Nairobi Star, she also recounts her travel with the recruits to the Somali border, and how she was almost killed by al-Shabaab in Somalia for violating Islamic law by traveling without a chaperone with men who were not her relatives .
In her article, Noor identifies some of the American Somalis in the group:
Nuno Ahmed from Minneapolis, who says that he’s joining al-Shabaab because “young people like me are needed there to protect our country.”
Abikar Mohamed from Minneapolis, who states that “we are here to protect Islam and we are going to do that at all cost.”
Abdirahman Gullet from Minneapolis, who took inspiration from his friend Burhan Hassan and Shirwa Ahmed, both of whom died with al-Shabaab (Burhan while fighting with the group, Ahmed in a suicide bombing).
Adan Hussein from Minneapolis, who acknowledges that he “might die protecting my religion, it’s a price I’m willing to pay.” He also says that their trips were funded by some of their community elders.
Abdinassir Osman from Ohio, who graduated from high school and joined a gang and now hopes his service with al-Shabaab will make up for any past wrongs he may have made.
Ali Mohamud from Ohio, who decided to join up after listening to stories and exhortations from his mosque elders.