It has emerged that almost a dozen Minnesota Muslims have left the Midwestern state to take up arms for Islamic extremist groups in the country. The revelation follows the news that two Minnesota Muslim men were killed fighting for ISIS in Syria this past weekend. The White House confirmed that Douglas McArthur McCain, 33, who went to high school in Minneapolis, died while fighting Free Syrian Army rebels in Syria with the Islamic State (ISIS).
UK Daily Mail A Minneapolis father-of-nine (all on welfare, no doubt), Abdirahmaan Muhumed, 29, has been confirmed as the second American jihadi to die fighting for ISIS in Syria. They are among almost a dozen Minnesotans out of the estimated 100 Americans who have joined the fighting in Syria.
The FBI’s Chief Division Counsel in Minneapolis, Kyle Loven, told ABC News that the phenomenon began in 2007, with Somali-American Muslims from the state traveling to Somalia. ‘In Somalia, it started as a nationalistic call… [but] we’ve now seen where some individuals perhaps are not interested or not inclined to travel to Somalia, [they] start to branch out to other hot spots around the globe, obviously Syria being among them,’ Loven told ABC.
One of those initial recruits was Troy Kastigar, a high school friend of McCain who died in bloody fighting in 2009.
Minnesota’s Muslim martyrs come from diverse backgrounds – some migrants and others born-and-raised Americans – but often have one thing in common: no direction. (CRAP – They all have the same direction: violent jihad) For those lost, disaffected youths, Muslim terrorist groups offer an exciting destination to those going nowhere in life.
The mother of Kastigar, who also knew McCain, said the young men were particularly susceptible. In an interview with the New York Daily News, she described both young men as ‘sort of searching.’ ‘I think both of them had a really strong desire to be needed and (be) of value,’ she said.
Mohamud Noor, a Minneapolis community leader, concurred. ‘They are young men who are vulnerable, who have been taken advantage of because of their situation,’ Noor told ABC. (Oh, Boo Hoo) ‘This is a youth who has lost direction, who has no hope in life, and the only way they can find [it] is to find other means of living.’ (Yes, they don’t want to go to school, don’t want to work…)
In a recruiting video aimed especially at Minnesotan Muslims recorded before his death, Kastigar, exhorted others to join him in Syria. ‘This is the best place to be, honestly,’ he said, gripping a gun and grinning goofily, one of his front teeth missing.
‘I can only tell you that you have the best of dreams, you eat the best of food, and you are with the best of brothers and sisters who came here for the sake of Allah. If you guys only knew how much fun we have over here. This is the real Disneyland. You need to come here and join us.’ The video, entitled Minnesota’s Martyrs: The Path to Paradise, was reportedly released by Islamist group al-Shabaab.
But according to Abdirizak Bihi, the director of the Somali Education and Social Advocacy Center, young women from Minneapolis’s Somalian Muslim community are still being recruited to support Islamic militants in Syria. ‘As recently as a week ago, a young girl was recruited along some others, and was sent to Syria and called her family from Syria a couple days ago,’ he said.
Minnesota, mainly in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, is home to the largest Somali Muslim community in the United States. According to Valentina Soria, a security analyst with London-based IHS Jane’s, al-Shabaab has increasingly focused in the past three years on the recruitment of western nationals and members of the Somali Muslim diaspora in the U.S. and Europe to offset its declining domestic support.
As much of a concern as it is that young Muslim Americans are dying abroad for extremist groups, of even greater worry is that the recruits will return home and commit acts of terrorism on American soil.