MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A leader in the Somali community confirmed that Omar Farah is the latest young man to be recruited into Al-Shabaab – the Somalia-based cell of the militant Islamist group Al-Qaeda.
Farah, a student at the University of Minnesota, told his aunt he was going to Somalia to get married. But a few days later, the 21-year-old called back to tell her the real reason he left Minneapolis was to join the militant group.
Abdirizak Bihi of the Somali Education and Social Advocacy Center, says recruitment is happening locally, and the recruited often have no idea of what really awaits them when they reach Somalia.
“Al-Shabaab is present here. Members of Al-Shabaab are highly recruiting our young people,” Bihi said. “When you say you join Al-Shabaab, you don’t join them to provide food assistance to the starving people. You join them to do jihad and fight.”
Minneapolis has been at the center of a federal investigation into the recruitment of people to train and fight for Al-Shabaab.
“The community is afraid, and needs help and resources to stop this foreign influence in our community that is dangerous,” he said.