Which city is America’s biggest hotbed for terrorists? If you’re thinking New York or Los Angeles, you’d be mistaken. Think middle America.
Dozens of young men and women have left Minneapolis-Saint Paul in recent years to join Islamic terrorist groups overseas.
Most of these U.S. passport holders hail from the Twin Cities’ large Somali Muslim community.
Some have been suicide bombers. Others star in propaganda videos.
Destination: Islamic State
Their exodus from the Twin Cities began in 2007, with a call to jihad in Somalia, courtesy of the al Qaeda-linked group, al-Shabaab.
Today, their destination is the Islamic State.
“Since July of 2012, we haven’t had any kids leave to go join al-Shabaab, but we have had several leave now to go join ISIS,” Bob Fletcher, with the Center for Somalia History Studies, told CBN News.
“And the reason is that ISIS controls land, they control cities,” he explained. “They are in a position to be able to recruit differently than al-Shabaab.”
“Al-Shabaab, all they have to promise is ‘Come join us in the jungles while we ambush and plot our terrorist attacks.’ But what ISIS is selling now is the opportunity to build something, to build a new society, and that is very, very exciting for a lot of kids,” Fletcher said.
At least 12 Twin Cities residents have traveled to Syria to join terrorist groups in recent years. All were Somalis except Douglas McCain, an African-American convert killed fighting alongside ISIS last summer.
One Somali-American ISIS recruit even worked at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport before joining the Islamic State.
“The recruiters get a hold of these young people, they mentor them, they assess them, they identify them,” Abdirizak Bihi, with the Minneapolis-based Somali Advocacy Center, told CBN News.
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SOURCE: CBN News