A well-produced video that surfaced on YouTube last month aimed at recruiting Somalis in Minnesota to fight for the terrorist organization Al-Shabab suggests the group is still actively looking for recruits in the state, the Star Tribune reports.
The 40-minute video, “Minnesota’s Martyrs: The Path to Paradise” features three young Minnesotans who traveled to Somalia to fight and die for Al-Shabab, WCCO reported last month, just after the video's release.
Speculation has swirled this week that there may be a Minnesota connection to the attack at a shopping mall in Kenya, which left at least 68 dead, although no connection has been confirmed. (Kenyan Foreign Minister Amina Mohamed told PBS this week that initial reports suggested several young men involved in the attack had lived "in the U.S., in Minnesota and one other place.") The attack began Saturday when gunmen stormed into the upscale mall and began shooting.
It's well-known that federal investigators have been probing Minnesota’s connection to Al-Shabab in recent years. At least 20 Somali men have left Minnesota to join al-Shabab in the last seven years, the Star Tribune notes. Somali leaders and law enforcement officials seem to agree that some level of Al-Shabab recruitment in the Twin Cities continues, but it's difficult to measure how successful it has been, the Star Tribune reports.
Minnesota is home to the largest ethnic Somali community in the U.S., and community leaders expressed frustration this week, fearing a backlash after the Kenya attack, Reuters reported. Many Minnesota Somalis have been quick to condemn the attack.
What is Al-Shabab? The Associated Press has collected a list of 10 things to know about the terrorist group.
The AP also put together a brief history of Al-Shabab recruiting in Minnesota.
CityPages tries to separate facts we know from what we don't about Minnesota connections to the Kenya attack.