I have a pair of stories today about Minnesota Somalis that suggest it is radical Islamic teaching that is keeping Somalis from fully integrating into American life, and indeed may be behind the recent rash of Somali former refugees leaving the US for terrorist training in Somalia.
The first is written by Brendan Goldman and published by Pajamas Media, and it begins:
The mainstream media has publicized a few cases of Somali-American youth that have returned to their homeland to fight for Islamist forces there. What the media has neglected to investigate is how Islamist members of the Somali-American community have formed organizations to advocate their agenda here in the United States. These organizations, which claim to represent the larger Somali community, silence moderate Muslim voices and impede the integration of Somalis into American society.
There are approximately 200,000 Somalis living in the United States, the largest community of 70,000 people residing in Minneapolis-St. Paul (population statistics for Somalis in America are rough estimates because many Somalis are here as refugees and therefore are not counted in official surveys). According to Andrew Liepman, the deputy director of intelligence at the National Counterterrorism Center, Somali-Americans face “greater insularity compared to other, more integrated Muslim immigrant communities, [which] has aggravated the challenge of assimilation for their children.”
Islamists have taken advantage of this insularity to disseminate their ideology within the community. The Islamists’ dogma ascribes no value to American cultural norms and has therefore led to clashes between Somalis and their host communities.
In one such incident, Hassan Mohamud, a prominent Somali-American imam, recently encouraged his congregants to give to Islamist causes in order to ameliorate “the hell of living in America.”
Read the rest of the article which is pretty much a summary of cases we have chronicled at RRW of Somalis unwilling to assimilate.
Then there is this Minnesota Public Radio story yesterday that tells us it might have been the speech of a radical London-based Somali,* who gave a fiery talk in Minnesota in 2007 attempting to arouse patriotic fervor for the war in Africa with the Ethiopian forces that is responsible for the youths’ departure.
Local Somalis, including Abdirizak Bihi (who we heard from here and who is trying to be a good American citizen), say that one speech was not enough, it was years of indoctrination at mosques that caused these young men to go to fight holy war in Somalia.
Even Somalis in Minnesota who were sympathetic to the fighting a year ago have now distanced themselves from one of the main resistance groups, Al-Shabaab, which has emerged as the Somali government’s top enemy and has claimed responsibility for a number of suicide bombings. The U.S. has declared Al-Shabaab as a terrorist group.
Burhan Hassan, a 17-year-old high school senior from Minneapolis whose family believes he joined the fighting in Somalia last year, was recently killed in a homeland he hardly knew. His uncle, Abdirizak Bihi, finds Zakaria Abdi’s speech disturbing, but not compelling enough to motivate his nephew and others to war.
“These kids don’t speak Somali,” Bihi said. “They don’t understand Somali issues.”
Bihi still blames a handful of religious leaders in Minnesota for radicalizing the young men with extremist ideology.
“It’s not the work that was done by one speech,” he said. “It’s not the work that was done in a couple days or months. It’s the work of years and years and years.”
After wading through many paragraphs we arrive at the end of the MPR story to find the two sentence answer to what I believe motivated Somali-Americans (former refugees) to give up the good life here.
In the interview, Maruf (one of those who left to fight) implies that his participation in the fighting was motivated by religion, not patriotism. Maruf said he and his friends heard the call of Allah, and they accepted it.
* I thought it was funny that this radical Muslim lives and presumably gives his incendiary speeches in England but Dutch Parlimentarian Geert Wilders has been denied entry into the UK as has American radio host Michael Savage because their speech might rile up the Muslims. Funny huh?