Much attention has been paid to freshman Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, a former refugee from Somalia, largely due to the anti-American and anti-Semitic views she has espoused, including pleading for leniency for Somali-American youths caught attempting to join international Islamic terrorist organizations.
With this in mind, Fox News took an in-depth look at the Fifth District that Omar represents and discovered that the city of Minneapolis, which resides within the district, is a veritable hotbed of anti-American terrorism sentiments.
According to Fox, the community had the highest rate in all of the nation of individuals attempting or actually succeeding in joining terrorist groups in Africa and the Middle East over the last dozen years.
High concentration of would-be terrorists
FBI statistics showed that from around 2005 to 2017, at least 45 young Somalis from Minneapolis — which has an estimated population of around 100,000 Somalis — had attempted or succeeded in fleeing the country to join with either al-Shabaab in Somalia or the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. Another dozen were reportedly arrested in 2018 for attempting to join with the Islamic State group.
Those numbers are vastly higher than similar would-be terrorists from other parts of the country that are home to significant populations of Muslim refugees and immigrants.
Even now, as the so-called “caliphate” of the Islamic State group is all but destroyed and al-Shabaab faces unrelenting pressure from the Somali government and U.S. military power, federal authorities remain “highly concerned” about potential terrorist recruitment in Omar’s district.
“We are very conscious that there may still be fertile ground for that, and that it could restart at any time,” an unnamed federal official told Fox. “Based on historical experience, we had [an uptick] in 2007 and 2008 going for al-Shabaab, then a lull. Then, as ISIS came back, we saw a whole bunch of people no longer headed for Somalia. They were headed for Iraq and Syria.
“That really caught us off guard, we didn’t see that coming. It didn’t make sense to us. We understood why kids were going back to Somalia, but going to Syria was another issue,” the official continued.
That official added later that while authorities were still keeping an eye out for the recruitment of Minneapolis-based Somalis to join terrorist groups outside the U.S., the focus had shifted more toward “home-grown violent extremists,” as the official said. “That is a more likely scenario at this point than a large class of kids trying to get to a foreign terrorist organization in the theater of war.”
Failure to assimilate
Robin Simcox, a terrorism and national security expert from The Heritage Foundation, explained: “For over a decade, Islamist terror groups have been able to recruit from Minnesota. This is, in part, because Minnesota has a large Muslim population compared to other parts of the U.S.
“However, it is also because there have been small segments of the Somali community there that have struggled to integrate into the U.S. Al-Shabaab and ISIS have exploited this — upon religious, political, cultural and identity issues to offer a compelling alternative to Western democracy,” added Simcox.
That failure to integrate with American culture has indeed been exploited to an extent by international Islamist terror groups like al-Shabaab and the Islamic State group, and given the manner in which the Somali community has insulated itself in Minneapolis, recruitment of disaffected youths by those and other organizations will most likely continue.
Considering the high level of anti-Americanism and sympathy for terrorists in Minnesota’s Fifth District, it is no wonder that an anti-American and anti-Semitic individual like Omar would be elected to represent that district in Congress. How can we be surprised?