Over the past year we’ve all heard the occasional reports of people here in the US trying to leave to join ISIS in Syria. Yet no one has been talking very much about the growing threat of ISIS already being here in the US.
My first thought would be the areas of Dearborn, Michigan and Murfreesboro, Tennessee as possible hotbeds for ISIS sympathizers, since they are known for their large Islamic communities. If someone would have suggested the Twin Cities of Minneapolis-St. Paul as an ISIS hotbed I would probably have discounted it. That is until today.
Okay, so four men from Minneapolis were arrested for trying to travel to Syria to join ISIS. That doesn’t make it a hotbed for ISIS activity, does it? After 19 year old Hanad Musse of the Minneapolis plead guilty to charges related to ISIS last Wednesday, reports have surfaced that the Twin Cities has become a top recruiting ground for ISIS here in the US.
They are not recruiting among Syrian or Iranian communities but among the Somalian community in the Twin Cities area. It is estimated that there are around 30,000 Somalians living in the area and officials are reporting that there has been Islamic extremism going back for some years.
In 2006 the conflict between Somalia and Ethiopia stirred up a significant amount of extremism as al-Shabab, the Somalia group later linked to al Qaeda, was heavily recruiting members in the Somalian community of the Twin Cities. Now ISIS is working diligently to recruit as many Somalians as possible.
US Attorney Andrew Luger, based in Minneapolis, released a press statement that read in part:
“Since Al Shabaab began recruiting Minnesota’s youth in 2006, the Twin Cities have been a focus of overseas terror recruiting by organizations like the Islamic State for Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). This cycle of terror recruiting has exclusively targeted Minnesota’s Somali community.”
At a news conference, Luger stated:
“To be clear: We have a terror-recruiting problem in Minnesota. And this case demonstrates how difficult it is to put an end to recruiting here. Parents and loved ones should know that there is not one master recruiter organizing in the Somali community locally. What this case shows is that the person radicalizing your son, your brother, your friend, may not be a stranger. It may be their best friend right here in town.”
In response to the ISIS threat among the Somali community in the Twin Cities, a plan was launched by outgoing US Attorney General Eric Holder, “in cities across the country to bring together community representatives, public safety officials and religious leaders to counter violent extremism.”
Part of the plan states:
“Since 2013, a large number of Somali Minnesotans have traveled, attempted to travel, or taken steps in preparation to travel to join ISIL. The Somali Minnesotan community wants this cycle of recruitment to stop and have partnered with the US Attorney’s office to build a plan to stop this cycle.”
But will this plan be enough to stop ISIS recruitment? They seem to be focused on those who are trying or have traveled to join ISIS, but what about any that are being groomed here to carry out terrorist attacks? No one seems to be talking about local indoctrination and training. It would only make sense for ISIS to be training people already here in the US to carry out bombings and attacks rather than having them travel to Syria. With our open borders and intelligence reports indicating that ISIS has been working with Mexican drug cartels for access into the US, it’s only a matter of time before we see their destructive ways in our own country.