ISIS, al Shabaab, al Qaeda, HAMAS, CAIR – they all have one thing in common. via Minnesota leads U.S. in recruiting ISIL terrorists, federal report finds – StarTribune.com h/t , Jihad Watch
Minnesota leads the nation in the number of people who have left or sought to leave the country to fight with terrorists aligned with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in Syria, according to a scathing congressional report that says the U.S. and western countries have failed to disrupt the flow of combatants to the Middle East.
Released Tuesday by the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security, the report specifically cites two Somali-American Minnesotans who joined or tried to join ISIL, highlighting its online recruiting success through peer-to-peer recruiting that relies on social media and sophisticated online messaging techniques.
Young fighters from at least 19 states have tried to join terrorists in Syria since the start of that country’s civil war in 2011. Minnesota recruits made up 26 percent of the sample of 58 cases reviewed by the committee’s bipartisan task force. California and New York had the second most recruits, with each state making up 12 percent, according to findings.
“This report is alarming and it’s really very worrisome,” said Sadik Warfa, deputy director of the Global Somali Diaspora based in Minneapolis. “I worry about the stigma and the prospect of our community being marginalized. But in the end, it’s up to us as Somali-Americans to really change our image. And as Minnesotans, we need to be asking what can we do to put these kinds of people into our mainstream here instead of over there.”
More than 250 Americans have attempted or succeeded in reaching Syria and Iraq to fight with terrorist groups, intelligence officials estimate. “We have largely failed to stop Americans from traveling overseas to join jihadists,” the task force declared. “A handful of suspects were stopped in other countries, but it appears the majority — 85 percent — still managed to evade American law enforcement on its way to the conflict zone.”
Those targeted for recruiting tend to be men in their early 20s, although more than 30 American women have joined or attempted to join ISIL. Among them was Yusra Ismail, 20, of St. Paul, who last year was charged with misusing a passport to travel to Syria, where her family says she now is working as a nurse.
“Today, we are witnessing the largest global convergence of jihadists in history,” the task force noted. “Individuals from more than 100 countries have migrated to the conflict zone in Syria and Iraq since 2011. Over 25,000 foreign fighters have traveled to the battlefield to enlist.”
Locally, the FBI office in the Twin Cities recently added a fourth anti-terrorism squad to its intelligence operations related to people in the Twin Cities interested in becoming jihadists. At the same time — and separately — the office is deeply involved in building better community relations with the Somali community, pledging that those programs and relationships will never dovetail into intelligence gathering operations.
In Washington, U.S. Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn, said the report “only underscores the urgent need for adequate resources to fight terrorist recruitment.” He noted the need to build stronger community outreach programs while refraining from stereotyping. “It’s important that we don’t indiscriminately target members of one community,” he said.
U.S. authorities have interdicted only a fraction of the hundreds of Americans who sought to travel to conflict zones in Syria and Iraq, researchers found, and several dozen of those managed to get back into the U.S. The nation still lacks a national strategy to combat terrorist travel, the report found.
“There is currently no comprehensive global database of foreign fighter names,” the report stated. “Instead, countries including the United States rely on a patchwork system for swapping extremist identities, increasing the odds foreign fighters will slip through the cracks.”
How about starting with a database that already exists – for example, the passport and visa databases? Or perhaps the no-fly database?
As for fighting terrorist recruitment, Franken should be adamant about halting resettlement of Muslims to Minnesota, shutting down the jihad-recruiting mosques and Muslim businesses, and deporting large numbers of terror-linked Muslims in his state. But worse than doing nothing, he aids and abets jihad with his “refraining from stereotyping” rhetoric.
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