6th American Jihadist believed to have died in Somalia

Update:  More from the Minneapolis Star Tribune today.

Here is a report from Minnesota Public Radio that a sixth “youth” from Minnesota has been killed in Somalia.  The previous 5 reported deaths have been Somali former refugees from the Minneapolis area.  This Jihadist is white.

St. Paul, Minn. — A sixth Minnesota man is feared dead in Somalia after joining an Islamic extremist group there. But Troy Kastigar stood out from his fellow recruits, because the Minneapolis man was not Somali.

Kastigar, 28, was a Muslim convert who apparently had no personal ties to the lawless east African country.

Troy Kastigar’s family received reports of his death within the past week, according to friends of the family. The circumstances of his reported death aren’t clear, and the information could not be confirmed by the FBI. 

Kastigar’s involvement in Somalia is a puzzle in itself. He told his mother that he was going to Kenya when he left the Twin Cities last November.

Somali community members believe Kastigar was part of the last wave of Minnesota men who joined the violent militia al-Shabaab in Somalia. While some of the 20 or so men say they left to defend their homeland in a bloody civil war, Katigar’s motivations are less clear.

Robert Spencer, writing at Jihad Watch yesterday made this important point about Kastigar’s motivations:

We have heard a lot about Somalis returning from Minnesota to Somalia to wage jihad. But this is the first account of an American convert to Islam going there to wage jihad. This is clear evidence that it is the Islamic jihad ideology, not nationalism or tribal loyalty, that is the motivating factor involved in these cases.

This is an extremely important point and one we have made here previously.  Zakaria Maruf, one of the other Minnesota Jihadists to die in Somalia this year, debunked the notion of nationalism as the driving force for joining the Jihad in Africa and told MPR this:

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.

Zakaria Maruf was the 4th American recruited to fight in Somalia to be killed and he died the same weekend as the New York Times said he was the recruiter, but he wasn’t.  See that story here.

I noticed when I attended the Senate Homeland Security hearings on this issue—terrorist recruitment in the US—that the Senators seemed relieved if witnesses told them this was all about patriotism and nationalism, that Somalis were going to Africa to defend Somalia against Ethiopian invaders.  The other explanation, that they were following the call of Allah seems too much to digest for our erstwhile leaders in Washington.

For new readers, we have followed this story since last November, here.