Reporting Reg Chapman
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – An international terror group is once again targeting young Somali men and women in the Twin Cities.
This time the group is using social media to get them to travel to Somalia to fight.
A propaganda arm of Al-Shabaab has been tweeting information about a video that will be released featuring the true stories of Minnesota Somalis who died fighting.
Two years ago, more than 20 men from Minneapolis left for Somali. According to community leader Abdirizak Bihi, the Somali community knew this new recruiting effort was coming.
They’ve seen this tactic before, Al-Shabaab praising the Minnesota teens who left to fight jihad, calling them martyrs, in order to get others to follow in their footsteps.
The “path to paradise” is how Al-Shabaab is trying to sell war to young people here in the Twin Cities.
“The biggest organization that is doing this is Al-Kataib,” Bihi said about the propaganda wing of Al-Shabaab. “We were expecting this. This is the second documentary they’re doing but this one is exclusively for us.”
Bihi says Al-Shabaab is active once again in the Cedar-Riverside area of Minneapolis, where many of the people who live here are under the age of 24.
”They know the issues we have,” Bihi said. “They know where to go, so they are advertising to take advantages of those young man and now young girls who are disenfranchised and not involved in positive programming.”
Bihi’s nephew, 17-year-old Brahan Hassan was one of those men who left high school and died fighting in Somalia.
The tweets glorify those who fight by saying, “True to the covenant some have sacrificed their blood for the sake of Allah and attained Martyrdom while others are still on the battlefield. They were like their peers deeply immersed into the Western society before Allah opened their eyes and instilled in them the spirit of Jihad.”
Bihi said Al-Shabab is trying to hide its weakness.
He said the organization’s leadership is split and they have been defeated recently getting kicked out of Mogadishu and other major towns in Somalia.