I’ll probably have more to say later on the New York Times front page story today on the missing Somali (former refugee) youths, but tonight just one point I want to make clear to readers. First, see Judy’s earlier post, here.
There is much discussion in the article about the patriotic motive that might have helped inspire American-raised boys to return to Somalia for terrorist training. The NYT tells us that the boys were told that Ethiopian troops, backed by America, were to blame for attrocities such as the rape of Somali women.
Indeed that whole line of discussion ran through the Senate Homeland Security hearings that I attended last spring in Washington. Just checking my post on the March hearing, I note that both the FBI witness and the witness from the National Counterterrorism Center told the Senators that the boys were not fighting the international jihad just fighting for their homeland! It was as if the US recruitment by al-Shabaab could be glossed over, made less threatening, if it was for patriotic reasons, for love of their ancestral homeland, that the boys had gone to Africa.
Ms. Elliot, the NYT reporter, in her lengthy analysis tells us much about the man she calls the “recruiter”, Zakaria Maruf. Please go read the discussion about this former Minneapolis resident. I thought the name sounded familiar and sure enough I wrote about Mr. Maruf here just a couple of days ago.
Let me be clear—-Maruf is! He says that their fighting is NOT about patriotism.
From Minnesota Public Radio:
In an interview with a Somali radio station several months ago, one of the Minnesota fighters suggested that he and his friends traveled to Somalia on their own volition. Friends have identified the speaker as 30-year-old Zakaria Maruf, a graduate of Edison High School in Minneapolis.
“Brother, someone who is a grown man with any sense cannot be misled, Maruf said in the interview.”The place where we’ve come from is not a place where you can be coerced.”
In the interview, Maruf 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 believe that is the point that we must all get through our heads!
Just a hunch, but I think this ordinary street thug, Maruf, with his “little man” complex is being set up as the fall guy. Yeh, he might have done his share of encouraging and recruiting, but as Abdirizak Bihi (a family member of one of the dead youths) pointed out in that Minnesota Public Radio story I linked above—-it took years and years of indoctrination.
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.”
For new readers, we have followed the Somali missing youths story since last November, see links here to all of our posts on the topic.