The largest enclave is in Minneapolis. Read “For Jihad Recruits, a Pipeline from Minnesota to Militancy.” Is any American paying attention to our immigration policy?
Investigators are looking into what led a handful of other people from Minnesota to follow the same path, said Kyle Loven, an F.B.I. spokesman in Minneapolis. American intelligence and counterterrorism officials say Mr. McCain, 33, and a second American believed to have been killed while fighting for ISIS traveled in the same circles in Minneapolis and knew each other.
Officials still have not publicly confirmed the identity of that man, but he has widely been reported to be a Somali immigrant in his late 20s who went by at least two names, calling himself Abdirahmaan Muhumed on his Facebook page. He spent much of his life around Minneapolis, worked at the airport over several years and ended up in Syria this year, declaring in a text message to a friend, “With out jihad there is no islam.”
To law enforcement officials and community leaders here, the pathway for many recruits remains murky and difficult to uncover, but the latest wave of volunteers is a chilling replay of recent history. Beginning in 2007, over 20 men, mostly of Somali origin, left Minnesota to join the Shabab militants who seized territory across Somalia and besieged the capital, Mogadishu.
The radicalization of the men prompted federal investigations and brought enormous scrutiny to the Somali population in Minneapolis, the largest in America. (Estimates put Minnesota’s Somali population around 30,000.) As Shabab forces withdrew from Mogadishu under pressure from African forces supported by the United States, people here held anti-Shabab rallies, and prosecutors eventually won convictions against eight local men on charges stemming from the flow of money and recruits to the militants.
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