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Suspected Terrorist Group and Disappearing Youth

Minneapolis is home to the largest Somali population in the U.S. However, in recent years, it has become home to a radical Islamist organization called al-Shabab (the youth). The organization is permeated by a distinctly anti-American sentiment. It is said to have ties to al-Qaeda and is a government-listed terrorist group.

In 2008, al-Shabab made headlines when a seventeen-year-old American named Burhan went missing from his Minneapolis home. After being notified of his absence from school, Burhan’s mother checked his bedroom. To her dismay, his passport and personal belongings were gone. Burhan had boarded a one-way flight to Somalia. He died six months later from a gunshot wound to the head.

Organizers in the Somali community of Minneapolis say that Burhan’s story is not original. In fact, one organizer said that in the past eighteen months, twenty men in the Somali community have gone missing. Organizers say that al-Shabab has been arranging one way tickets to Somalia.

This activity has not gone unnoticed by the FBI. One FBI agent said that the chance that these young men may come back to America to carry out an attack is a possibility that the government cannot ignore. For the Minneapolis Somali community, this has raised serious questions about the context in which these men are leaving and whether they will ever return.

Read more about Somali terrorists at the Council on Foreign Relations.


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