The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood front designated by the United Arab Emirates as a terrorist group, was asked by FOX News about Islamist terrorist recruitment among Somalis in Minnesota. CAIR’s answer, which appeared in a TV segment that included the Clarion Project, was almost comically deceptive.
The segment hosted by Pete Hegseth was about why terrorist groups like Al-Shabaab (Al-Qaeda’s branch in Somalia) and the Islamic State have an exceptional level of success in recruiting Somali-Americans.
CAIR-MN Executive Director Jaylani Hussein answered by saying:
“The Minnesota Muslim community has been working hard to address recruitment by the Al-Shabaab terror group and has achieved results, in that there has not been any new known recruits in the past few years…Treating the Muslim community as suspect only harm relations with law enforcement and alienates and stigmatizes our community.”
The spin lies in that CAIR is talking only about Al-Shabaab to give the impression that the Somali terrorist recruitment problem is a thing of the past. What it didn’t mention is that the reason the radicalized Somalis aren’t going to Al-Shabaab is simply because they are going to the Islamic State instead.
A bipartisan House Homeland Security report in September states that “radicalized individuals who were once intent on traveling to Afghanistan or Somalia are now traveling to Syria.”
That same report found that Minnesota is the origin of 26% of the American “foreign fighter” recruits who join Islamist terrorist groups overseas. The second state was California, the origin of 12%, followed by the New York City/New Jersey area with another 12%.
To put that in perspective, Minnesota has about one-ninth of the population of California, New York City and New Jersey combined—but has produced more than twice the amount of recruits of those three areas combined.
The ability of Al-Shabaab to recruit Somali-Americans, particularly in the Minneapolis area of Minnesota, has long been acknowledged by counter-terrorism experts. The danger is heightened by the extremist preaching from within the Somali communities in Minnesota and Tennessee.
Ironically, a Somali activist has blasted CAIR for marginalizing Muslim moderates and failing to combat the ideology that feeds terrorism. Now, the Islamic State has replaced Al-Shabaab as the most common destination for American recruits, including Somalis.
CAIR knows that the Islamic State is recruiting disproportionately from Somali-Americans. CAIR, ever so desperate to downplay the problem and avoid accountability for Islamic leaders, obviously made a calculated decision to try to deceive the audience by commenting only on Al-Shabaab.
Contrast their reply with what Somali community activist Omar Jamal said in the clip. He warned that Somali youth are being radicalized and recruited at this moment, facilitated by a lack of integration into American society and a failure by the U.S. government to combat extremism.
The only types of problems that can be fixed are the problems that are acknowledged.
Ryan Mauro is ClarionProject.org’s national security analyst, a fellow with Clarion Project and an adjunct professor of homeland security. Mauro is frequently interviewed on top-tier television and radio. Read more, contact or arrange a speaking engagement.