I wish our community could be well known for our charity or a large number of converts or something. I’m even longing for the days of the taxi drivers, guide dogs, flying imams and incedious charter schools.
We made the New York Times yesterday – A Call to Jihad, Answered in America:
Most of the men are Somali refugees who left the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul in two waves, starting in late 2007. While religious devotion may have predisposed them to sympathize with the Islamist cause in Somalia, it took a major geopolitical event — the Ethiopian invasion of their homeland in 2006 — to spur them to join what they saw as a legitimate resistance movement, said friends of the men.
For many of the men, the path to Somalia offered something personal as well — a sense of adventure, purpose and even renewal. In the first wave of Somalis who left were men whose uprooted lives resembled those of immigrants in Europe who have joined the jihad. They faced barriers of race and class, religion and language. Mr. Ahmed, the 26-year-old suicide bomber, struggled at community colleges before dropping out. His friend Zakaria Maruf, 30, fell in with a violent street gang and later stocked shelves at a Wal-Mart.
If failure had shadowed this first group of men, the young Minnesotans who followed them to Somalia were succeeding in America. Mr. Hassan, the engineering student, was a rising star in his college community. Another of the men was a pre-med student who had once set his sights on an internship at the Mayo Clinic. They did not leave the United States for a lack of opportunity, their friends said; if anything, they seemed driven by unfulfilled ambition.
Just to be a bit glib, what kind of minnesotans are these guys? Starbucks? Pshhh, if they were really minnesotans, it would be all about Caribou. Imposters!
Even among the world’s jihadists, the young men from Minneapolis are something of an exception: in their instant messages and cellphone calls, they seem caught between inner-city America and the badlands of Africa, pining for Starbucks one day, extolling the virtues of camel’s milk and Islamic fundamentalism the next.
This however is a good question we should all be asking ourselves. But, did they need to go to fight? These boys had the potential to bring their education back to Somalia and rebuild a shattered society. Instead, they’re helping to destroy it.
“Allah will never change the situation of a people unless they change themselves,” Mr. Hassan, the engineering student, wrote in a Facebook message he posted on April 15. “Take a sec and think about your situation deeply. What change do you need to make?”
And from our local papers, we find 2 more Minnesota muslims have died in Somali recently – Relative confirms death of fourth young man from Minnesota in Somalia.