Delusion In Little Mogadishu

Islamic State has claimed credit for the stabbing of nine people at a shopping mall in St. Cloud, Minnesota. The terrorist, who was shot and killed by an off-duty policeman from another jurisdiction who, happily, was armed, has now been identified. As expected, he is a Somali-American, of whom there are a great many in St. Cloud:

Community members have identified the deceased suspect behind attacks Saturday at Crossroads Center as Dahir Adan.

Leaders of the Somali-American community in St. Cloud gathered Sunday with his family and issued a statement of sympathy for the family and the nine victims of the attack.

Community leader Abdul Kulane said as far as the family and community know, the suspect did not have any history of violence. He was known as a smart, accomplished student at Apollo High School. He was a junior at St. Cloud State University, Kulane said.

This is typical. Most Islamic terrorists are intelligent and have good jobs (engineers, doctors and the like) or good job prospects.

In an instance of unfortunate timing, the front page of the Minneapolis Star Tribune is dominated by a very long article titled “Rooting out jihad from within.”


The article is about a federal pilot project called Building Community Resilience, which is intended to combat the influence of ISIS on Somali youth in Minnesota. The entire operation, while perhaps well-intended, seems driven by delusion:

It wasn’t long before [psychotherapist Hodan] Hassan encountered pushback in the Somali community. One of the project’s two main prongs would be the development of “community-led intervention teams” — groups of Somali leaders and educators enlisted to identify and intervene with young people believed at risk for radicalization.

But as her task force began seeking volunteers, in the spring of 2015, the FBI conducted a series of raids in Minnesota targeting young Somali-Americans suspected of trying to join ISIL. The raids alarmed and angered many in the Somali community. Their anxieties mounted when three of the young men were convicted on federal terror charges in June after a grueling trial. Six others pleaded guilty before trial.

The young men who were “targeted” by the FBI were guilty. Six pled guilty, and the remaining three were convicted in a trial that Scott reported on extensively here. So why were so many “alarmed and angered,” and why did their “anxieties mount” when the final three were convicted? It appears that a great many Somalis in Minnesota have mixed feelings, at best, about Islamic terrorism.

One summer evening after the trial, inside a popular Minneapolis community center, a dozen young Somali-Americans stood before an audience gathered to speak out against the federal anti-terrorism effort.

“Yes, we do want resources,” said one young man. “But we want it because we deserve it, not because we are a problem that needs to be solved.”

By “resources,” I take it he meant other people’s money. Which he deserves…because?

The young critics are among several dozen allied community groups and religious centers, including the local chapter of the [Ed: unindicted terrorist co-conspirator] Council on American-Islamic Relations, to speak out against the federal pilot project. They argue that the effort, dubbed Countering Violent Extremism, is based on the premise that religion or nationality determine someone’s propensity for violence. They have called it “fundamentally discriminatory.”

So it is discriminatory for the government to express awareness of Islamic terrorism and try to do something–anything!–about it.

The federal program involves spreading money around to the usual suspects:

Luger’s office enlisted Youthprise, a nonprofit with a history of working with Somalis, to distribute a set of grants for services such as job-hunting, athletics and youth mediation training.

No idea what that is.

The Strib quotes cautionary words from an expert on terrorism:

But by funding a broad array of mental health and education programs, a counter-extremism program can lose focus on the small number of youth actually tempted by terrorist recruiting, said J.M. Berger, a counterterrorism researcher.

“There are a lot of elements that are good for a community even if you can’t say it definitely leads to a reduction in violent extremism,” said Berger, who is a fellow in George Washington University’s Program on Extremism and an associate fellow at the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism. “[But] education and unemployment are not reliable indicators of extremism.”

That’s right. Poverty and ignorance are not the causes of terrorism. A representative of the FBI offers a realistic appraisal of the situation here in Minnesota:

Community resistance has also become a frustration for the local FBI office. Special Agent in Charge Richard Thornton said in an interview that he recognizes that a large portion of the Somali community is still not on board with the federal effort. Some want to work with federal officials and are doing so; others want to help but aren’t sure of their roles. Still others, he said, deny that there is a problem or want to blame the government, and a smaller radical segment is at the far end of the spectrum.

“We have a majority of the Minnesota Somali community that has not yet become a part of the solution in an effective way,” Thornton said.

The conviction of nine young Somalis on charges of trying to help ISIS in Syria apparently didn’t convince most of Minnesota’s Somalis that they have a problem. It remains to be seen whether the “Allahu akbar” stabbing of nine at a St. Cloud shopping mall will have any more impact.