Somali missing youths: recruitment methods explored

Minnesota Public Radio gives us a few additional bits of information as we continue to follow the story of the Somali missing youths (former refugees) believed to have joined the terrorist group al-Shabaab.

Minneapolis, Minn. — The FBI is looking into whether a group of Twin Cities men were recruited to fight in Somalia. But still unclear is who was responsible for spreading extremist ideology. Is there a recruiter lurking in the community? Or were the young men targeted through the Internet?

Vulnerable youths were apparently discussed in a task force report released last week.  This is new information to me.   I did not know about the Washington Institute for Near East Policy before reading this article.

Michael Jacobson of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy helped convene a task force on ways to counter radical extremism. Last week it recommended the U.S. engage in broader community outreach with mosques and Muslim community leaders.

Jacobson said there are many paths to radicalization — and many types of would-be radicals. But in general, he agrees that those most vulnerable include individuals who might not feel socially integrated into their communities.

We have previously discussed the mosque as a likely place for recruitment but other possibilities are being considered.

Counterterrorism experts say militant Islamist groups like Al-Shabaab in Somalia have ramped up their cyber activities. Al-Shabaab’s recruitment in the U.S. will be the subject of a Senate Homeland Security committee hearing next week.  [We told you about that here yesterday.]

A propaganda video for Al-Shabaab on YouTube shows fighters firing off rounds of mortar, set to the music of Arabic chanting. At the very end of the clip, the credits say public-relations department of Al-Shabaab is responsible for the message. It also offers a plea that roughly translates into, “Don’t forget us in your prayers.”

But while these videos may be disturbing, experts say online chat rooms that provide two-way communication are much more dangerous. Yet they’re also difficult to find. Web sites regularly vanish and reappear with a different domain name.

And then there’s an old-fashioned invention that could have reached impressionable minds: the telephone.

Read the whole article.  It goes on to explain how authorities can listen in on calls within the Somali highrise where thousands of Somalis reside in Minneapolis.

In the end, some families who are missing a young man believe the indoctrination happened locally, in person, and possibly at the mosque.

Comment worth noting: Criticism of Muslims not allowed in Australia

BL, who has commented here before, wrote this interesting comment in response to my post, The heart of a refugee and the culture of violence:

I have commented previously about how my city (Sydney, Australia) has had problems with Middle Eastern Arabs. I don’t know how or where we lost our freedom of speech but it seems that it is increasingly difficult to freely express our opinions and/or concerns. When you cut through all the politically correct nonsense you are left with the truth, which is they are not the same as us. Some races are predisposed to certain tendencies and characteristics. In the case of Muslim Arabs, they are naturally aggressive and violent. The Muslim Arab community in my city have been here for decades and for as long as I can remember, they have always been a menace to this city and this hasn’t changed one bit. If anything, I would say that it has gotten worse and will only progressively get worse as we allow them to manipulate our free society to their will.

“Many of the Vietnamese who came here in the 1970s and 1980s were traumatized too, having lived through a war, a communist regime, often prison camps, and harrowing escapes. But their culture and their resulting characters didn’t lead them to express their trauma in violence”.

For me, this is very fitting as I am in fact a Vietnamese Australian. It seems that, in Australia at least, ethnic Australians such as myself are more open about their true feelings and will voice their concerns more liberally than our fellow Anglo Australians. This maybe attributed to the fact that they may not want to be tagged as racist, which is a fair reason. Such is the dilemma of our free society where you are damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

If the current trend to disallow criticism of Islam in some Nations spreads globally, then Muslims will certainly exploit this and we will see their hypocrisy and true intent. A small minority of courageous people such as the people here at RRW and Jihad Watch are aware of their hidden agenda (although it really isn’t hidden when their intent is clearly stated in the Koran) and are expressing their concern. If only this concern was shared among the ignorant in our society because it will only take a majority to cut through all the political garbage that is littered all over this issue.

I will do my part to protect and preserve our beautiful Western Society by spreading my concern to my fellow peace loving Christians. I can only hope and pray that more people will see through the politics and rise up to tackle this issue head on

Afghan refugees unhappy in Kansas City, MO

We can now add Afghan refugees to our list of unhappy, unemployed immigrants.   Arriving on Special Immigrant Visas especially designed for interpretors who helped the US military, like other refugees they are dependent on care by the volags (supposedly voluntary agencies) contracted by the State Department to resettle refugees.    And, they, like the Iraqis we have been writing about are wondering what will become of them if a job is not forthcoming.  From the Kansas City Star:

(Mohammad Naseer) Yasini arrived in Kansas City last month and is one of the hundreds of Iraqis and Afghans who move to the United States on a special immigrant visa after serving alongside American troops in their home countries. The visa was created specifically for those whose lives have been threatened because of their work for U.S. forces.

But many of these refugees do not feel special. They arrive here reliant on nonprofit social service agencies and become ensnared in the red tape of securing federal resettlement assistance for housing, employment and health care. They often find they cannot resume the professional careers they once held or had planned in their native countries.

What federal resettlement benefits they do receive expire in six months for Afghans and eight months for Iraqis, a small time frame to start a new life in a new country that they had risked their lives for, said Bob Carey, vice president for resettlement and migration policy for the International Rescue Committee.

“They are essentially dumped here,” Carey said. “They are not getting shot or killed, but they are not getting the resources they need. It’s comparable to American veterans not receiving the services they need. [That is a bit of a stretch, Mr. Carey] We’re not serving well those who suffered on behalf of the United States.”

Read the whole story and especially the comments which are much more interesting than the news itself .  It is the same old story we have heard many times—resettlement agencies leaving people struggling as the economy continues in free-fall.

Please note, this special immigrant visa, described here, is not to be confused with the special immigrant visa that Senator Ted Kennedy pushed through Congress last year that allows up to 5000 additional Iraqis (those who have worked for the US government) to come as refugees to the US each year.

Miscellaneous Rohingya News

I’ve been remiss in not reporting the latest on the Rohingya Muslims of Myanmar (Burma).  You will remember an international brouhaha has developed around the issue ever since reports were made late last year that Rohingya illegal aliens trying to enter Thailand were waylaid by the Thai Navy and sent back out to sea.  (See our Rohingya Reports category for background).

Here are some recent developments.

The US today has called on the Thai government to not forcibly repatriate the Rohingya in their custody:

The United States Ambassador to Thailand has urged the Thai government to not forcibly repatriate Rohingya boat people to Burma without guarantees of their safety. The Rohingya are a Muslim ethnic minority who live in Burma.

“Without improvements in their treatment in northern Rakhine (Arakan) State, and verifiable guarantees by authorities that they won’t be punished for departing, the United States strictly opposes the forced repatriation of the Rohingya into the hands of Burmese officials,” said Ambassador Eric John in an exclusive interview with The Irrawaddy.

The UN called on Burma (Myanmar) to treat the Rohingya according to International standards:

New Delhi (Mizzima) – Navanethem Pillay, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, on Thursday called on Burma’s neighboring countries to treat Rohingya, members of Burma’s minority Muslim community, according to international standards.

Ms. Pillay, speaking at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, said she is dismayed by the harrowing accounts of Rohingya who had taken to the sea to flee Burma.

Calling for a thorough investigation into reports that indicate the ill-treatment meted out to Rohingya, Ms. Pillay said, “I urge all neighboring countries to ensure their appropriate reception, processing and protection, in line with international standards.”

Meanwhile Indonesia is trying to get a meeting together of representatives of 40 nations to try to solve the Rohingya issue, but no one wants to come.

Indonesia has received no response from 40 countries invited to hammer out a resolution on the fate of Rohingya migrants during a forum in Bali slated for mid-April, a ministry official said on Friday.

Teuku Faizasyah, spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said invitations were sent out last week to 40 countries, including Burma and Bangladesh, the countries of origin of about 400 boat people now staying in Aceh Province. Thailand, Australia and New Zealand were also among the countries asked to take part in the forum.

“Normally, confirmation comes one day after invitations are sent,” he said, adding the so-called Bali Process would be held on the resort island on April 14 and 15.

What all this is leading up to is that we will one day be adding the Rohingya to our list of refugees resettled in the US.    Here is a letter from a group of Rohingya activists appealing for resettlement.   And, by the way, some mainstream publication recently said there was no one actively advocating for the Rohingya (couldn’t find that link at the moment), and that just isn’t true.

We under signed organizations are deeply concerned over the plights of Rohingya and role of ASEAN nations as their plight require international intervention without further delay.


Thus, we extend our continuous encouragement of urgent intervention by resettlement countries, as an only essential step that required to international solution for their long standing problems. We have also received refugees’ personal testimonies for resettlement process. Their rights to meet with safety net process through relocation to signatory country, which would not be violated by unworkable regional dimension.

This statement is endorsed by:

Sincerely yours,

1.Rohingya Information Center (RIC)

2.Rohingya Information Center (RIC-ABIM)

3.Arakan Rohingya Refugee Committee (ARRC)

4.Organization of Refugee Rohingya Woman, Malaysia (ORRWM)

5.Community Rohingya Islam Pro-Democracy Organization (CRIPDO)

6.Organization of Rohingya Stateless in Malaysia (ORSM)

7.Myanmar Ethnic Rohingya Human Rights Organization, Malaysia (MERHROM)