NPR explains the dangerous trend of jihadi recruitment in Muslim communities in the United States.
ISIS has been luring thousands of Westerners to the battlefields of Syria and Iraq. The number of Americans who have traveled to Syria is still relatively small — in the neighborhood of 150 people — and a thin slice of that group, perhaps as many as two dozen Americans, are thought to have joined ISIS.
In the discussions at the White House this week, one city has focused minds: Minneapolis-St Paul. It had been ground zero for terrorist recruiters in the past, and is fast becoming the center of ISIS’ recruitment effort in the United States.
“I know one guy who tweets the community all the time,” said Abdirizak Bihi, the director of Somali education at a local advocacy group. “He left with my nephew 2008, and he’s still alive. And he’s been tweeting about who died in ISIS and where they come from, kind of maybe the new spokesman.”
Bihi’s nephew was a Minneapolis teenager named Burhan Hassan, who joined a handful of young men from the Twin Cities and traveled to Somalia to join a terrorist group there called al-Shabab. Hassan died there several years ago. Between 2006 and 2011, some 27 Somali-Americans from the community disappeared to fight in Somalia.