MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Minnesota man charged with recruiting terrorists is in custody in Africa.
A State Department spokesperson tells WCCO Muhammed Abdullah Hassan, known as Mujahid Miski online, turned himself in Somalia. The Roosevelt High School graduate returned to his native Somalia after high school in 2008, pledging allegiance to terrorist group Al-Shabab.
When Paris endured its first round of terrorism this year at the Charlie Hebdo magazine office, most were condemning the acts. But via twitter, this young Minnesotan was praising the act.
Officials say a Roosevelt High School grad, the young man known as Miski has been living in Somalia, pledging allegiance to Al-Shaba, among others.
David Ibsen is with a non-profit that works to stop terrorism, the Counter Extremisim Project.
“He also advocated on behalf of ISIS as well as the Islamic state,” Ibsen said.
Ibsen helped come up with this profile on Miski. His group, Counter Extremism Project, has been following Miski online. He spoke with us from New York.
“Yeah, he was very good at it, he was actually one of the most prominent online extremist and recruiters.” He says Miski was, “Quite successful and someone quite well known in the space as someone who had good English skills and had familiarity with the west and with Americans and he kind of knew it seemed what buttons to push to be attracted to the ideology,” Ibsen said.
But the State Department says on Nov. 6, the anti-government loyalist turned himself in.
“What’s curious or what we would want to know more about is actually why he turned himself into Somali forces if he was in fear for his life from some of his former cohorts,” Ibsen said.
Ibsen says this could mean division and weakening within Al-Shabaab, and strengthening of national security.
“Someone who’s been able to be proven to insight people in this country to violence, the fact that they’re not online anymore, I think is somewhat comforting, yes,” Ibsen said.
What is next for Miski? If he will he be questioned in the U.S., that is not clear. The U.S. Mission to Somalia is discussing this case with the Somali Federal Government. For now, he is in custody in Mogadishu.
Omar Jamal is a Twin Cities advocate for young Somali men and tries to keep them from joining extremist groups. Of Miski, he says he was a smart young Minnesotan with w bright future.
“He could have been a role model, could have been, at least live a peaceful life where he has a chance to make something out of himself in this country, he had everything in front of him,” Jamal said.