Monday, May 4, 2009

Minnesota Men Suspected of Joining Somali Terrorist Group

Approximately 20 young Somali-American men between the ages of 17 and 27 - most from the Minneapolis area - have traveled to Somalia to join a terrorist group in the last 18 months, according to U.S. authorities.

The FBI alleges that Al Shabaab (Arabic for "the Youth"), a U.S. designated terrorist group that seeks to overthrow the Somali government, has made an "active and deliberate attempt" to recruit these young men both in person and on the Internet.

On March 31, 2009, Al Shabaab released a propaganda video urging foreigners "to come and live the life of a mujahid." The video features an English speaking militant named "the American."

The FBI has expressed concern that the young men may return to the U.S. with their American passports and attempt to carry out an attack on U.S. soil. "The prospect of young men, indoctrinated and radicalized in their own communities... is a perversion of the immigrant story, FBI director Robert S. Muelller III said. Other U.S. officials, however, believe they will continue to participate in terrorism activities in Somalia instead.

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