Subjects: US news
Shirwa Ahmed, a Somali-born college student mysteriously disappeared from his Minneapolis home 15 months ago. Ten months later, he blew himself up along with 4 other suicide bombers in Somalia, in a coordinated attack orchestrated by al-Shabaab, an al-Qaeda splinter group.
That prompted several Somali American families from Minneapolis to come forward.
What they said was that Ahmed was only the first of many in the Somali community there to leave town unexpectedly.
Eight left in one day last August. Seven more bolted on Election Day.
The men tended to be good students. They attended the Abubakar As-Saddique Islamic Center mosque. Before leaving, they became less social and took their religious studies more seriously, according to the families.
In investigating the disappearance of his cousin, Ahmad Hassan found paperwork for a flight to Somalia. A travel agency told him an adult claiming to be a parent paid for the ticket.
“We believe a minority group is recruiting these kids, brainwashing them and financing and arranging the travel,” Hassan told the Washington Post. “Those who are recruiting kids here can harm us here.”
The FBI is on the case. Investigations are active in Boston, Columbus and Seattle.
CIA Director Leon Panetta said the Somali connection “raises concerns about the potential for terrorist activity” and “constitutes a potential threat to the security of this country.”
The men’s American passports would enable them to reenter the country with alacrity.
Al-Shabaab “presents U.S. authorities with the most serious evidence to date of a ‘homegrown’ terrorist recruitment problem in the American heartland,” Georgetown professor Bruce Hoffman told the Post.
Mahir Sherif, a lawyer for the Abubakar As-Saddique Islamic Center said it “does not engage in political activities, has not and will not recruit for any political cause and never will be in support of terrorist philosophy or acts.”