Mohamed Farah, president of Ka Joog, a Somali-American youth group in Minnesota, testified in front of the House Foreign Affairs Committee over the al-Qaeda-linked group al-Shabaab. He said resources from the federal government are needed to fight the group’s recruitment in America for their jihad.
“The number one issue of our community is the recruitment of our youth,” Farah said, according to his prepared testimony. He said al-Shabab has “targeted the disenfranchised, marginalized and socially estranged” youth.
On September 21, the al-Qaeda-linked terrorist group al-Shabaab attacked the Westgate mall in Nairobi, Kenya. Rumors swirled that Americans were involved, but that has not been confirmed. It did bring to light that the group does recruit Somali-Americans for their jihad. Minneapolis is home to the largest Somali population in America and, since 2007, at least 22 men traveled to Somalia. Others were caught sending money to the terror group. The majority of the men come from the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood. On average, residents earn less than $15,000 a year and unemployment is at 17%. Farah said the federal government should use some of the money on terrorism here at home to prevent youths from being radicalized.
“What we’ve been doing is not enough. We need to do more work. We need to engage more youth,” Farah told The Associated Press. “This is a war against a cancerous ideology. And it seems as if we are alone in this.”
Seth Jones, from the nonprofit research group RAND Corp, and Don Borelli, former assistant special agent in charge of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Taskforce in New York, agree with Farah. They claim the attack shows the group is growing, and America should be concerned–even if the group is not planning an attack on American soil.