It’s good that attention is now being paid to the problem of Somali terrorists from the U.S., as in this article on FrontPage Magazine today. It begins:
For several years the Somalia-based Islamic terrorist group Al-Shabab has been diligently recruiting new members in the United States, efforts that have produced both a disturbing and growing increase in the radicalization of young Somali-Americans.
When 19 year-old Somali-born Mohamed Osman Mohamud was arrested on November 27 for his failed attempt to blow up a van full of dummy explosives at a tree-lighting ceremony in Portland, Oregon, some saw the influence of Al-Shabab.
However, law enforcement officials were quick to insist Mohamud had not been directed by any foreign terrorist organization, pointing out he had been the one to initiate contact with Al Qaeda recruiters in Pakistan in an effort to join its jihadist movement.
While no connection to Al-Shabab apparently exists, it certainly wasn’t an implausible conclusion to draw, given the series of arrests this year alone of Somali-Americans from all parts of the United States.
The author, Frank Crimi, gives good information about what has gone on on in Somalia that has brought us the terrorism connection here. And he covers the refugee aspect thusly:
These Somali communities, which cover all corners of the United States, are composed primarily of refugees who have been escaping the ongoing civil wars that began in Somalia since 1991 with the ouster of then President Mohamed Siad Barre, conflicts which have gone on unabated ever since.
While most Somalis have earned a reputation as law-abiding and patriotic members of the American community, in a population that has swelled from 35,000 in 2000 to upwards of 150,000 today, there are still a number who feel culturally disconnected, making them ever susceptible to the lure of outside jihadist forces.
As Thomas Mockaitis explains, “Many of these people are in fact the children of refugees. They were probably born in Somalia or born soon after they [i.e., their mothers] came to the United States. And they are not particularly in touch with their parents. And yet, neither are they particularly attracted to or accepted by mainstream American culture. So there is this kind of double alienation that makes them particularly prone to recruitment.”
It would be helpful if he and others who write about Somalis in the U.S. were more aware of the problems in the refugee program, the longstanding problems in Somali communities here, and the fact that the terrorist connection has not reduced the numbers coming in. Ann has written volumes about the refugee program and Somalis. Here, for instance, is confirmation that the Christmas tree bomber in Oregon is a refugee. And here is the story of how we got so many Somali refugees (about 84,000 so far), and continue to bring them in as refugees despite enormous fraud in claiming family relationships.
And here is the list of all the articles on Somalis at RRW.