Two Twin Cities men accused of trying to join a terrorist organization in Syria were charged with conspiracy Tuesday by federal prosecutors, part of a continuing investigation into a pipeline used to recruit Somali-Americans to fight overseas.
Abdi Nur, 20, of Minneapolis, and Abdullahi Yusuf, 18, of Inver Grove Heights, are charged with conspiring to provide support to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
Yusuf, who was stopped by FBI agents last May while trying to board a flight at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, appeared before a U.S. magistrate in Minneapolis Tuesday afternoon and was ordered held in custody pending a detention-bail hearing on Wednesday. Nur, who was able to board a flight bound for Turkey last spring, is believed to be in Syria.
The exodus of Somali-Americans to overseas terrorist organizations is an ongoing problem. Before the rise of the Islamic State, Minnesota’s Somali community (the largest in the country) proffered not-inconsiderable support to al-Shabaab, a terrorist outfit based in Somalia. The Islamic State has mimicked al-Shabaab’s recruiting techniques and utilized the same local resources — primarily mosques — to reach out to susceptible young people.
As I reported in National Review’s dead-tree edition (November 3, 2014), it is having an alarming degree of success.