And, there's another Minnesotan who (very likely) is dead in Mogadishu, Somalia. He's Burhan Hassan, 17, a senior at Roosevelt High School in Minneapolis. His family hadn't heard from him in about two weeks.
Then, this Friday, Burhan Hassan's family got a very disturbing phone call.
"...'Someone who claimed (to be) a member of al-Shabaab called Burhan's mom Friday (afternoon) and said Burhan died Friday morning,' [Burhan Hassan's uncle Osman] Ahmed said. 'Burhan's mom got shocked and (threw) the phone when she heard the story.'Burhan Hassan isn't the first Somali to return to the old country and then turn up dead. There was enough of Shirwa Ahmed left, after he starred as a suicide bomber in Somalia, for DNA to identify who he was. At least his family got to give him a decent burial. (December 4, 2008)
" 'Al-Shabaab assassinated Burhan and shot (him in) the head,' the individual said, according to Ahmed.
"A law enforcement official told FOX News on Sunday that one of the Somali-American men was recently killed in Somalia by artillery fire, but the official declined to release the man's name...." (FOXNews)
Mr. Ahmed was the first naturalized American citizen to be a suicide bomber, a detail which started U.S. intelligence people looking at Somalis in America. They seem to have arrived at some conclusions:
"...The potential recruitment of young Somali-American men has been made possible by 'a number of factors that come together when a dynamic, influential and extremist leader gains access to a despondent and disenfranchised group of young men,' Andrew Liepman, deputy director for intelligence at the National Counterterrorism Center, said earlier this year.At least Mr. Liepman said "Many refugees."
"Many refugees, he said, 'lack structure and definition in their lives' and are 'torn between their parents' traditional tribal and clan identities, and the new cultures and traditions offered by American society.'..." (CNN)
Let's look at the "despondent and disenfranchised" young man whose family got that disturbing phone call. His uncle, Osman Ahmed, had a few words to say about Burhan Hassan. (I don't know if he's related to Shirwa Ahmed. "Ahmed" isn't all that uncommon a name in America (U.S. Census).)
"...'(He) was a brilliant student with straight A's and on top of his class,' Ahmed testified at a Senate hearing in March focusing on recruitment efforts by al-Shabaab. 'He was an ambitious kid with the hope to go to Harvard University to study medicine or law and become a medical doctor or a lawyer.'The "(a local mosque)" appears to be the Abubakar As-Saddiqu mosque in Minneapolis. It's been connected with missing Minnesotans before. (March 22, 2009)
Ahmed accuses a local mosque of helping al-Shabaab recruit his nephew and others in the Minneapolis area.
'Like his peers, Burhan Hassan was never interested in Somali politics, or understood Somali clan issues,' Ahmed said during testimony. 'These kids have no perception of Somalia except the one that was formed in their mind by their teachers at (a local mosque). We believe that these children did not travel to Somalia by themselves. There must be others who made them understand that going to Somalia and participating the fighting is the right thing to do.'..." (FOXNews)
I hope that American officials realize that not all Americans who were born in Somalia, or whose parents emigrated to this country, fit the "despondent and disenfranchised" description given by Mr. Liepman. And that not everybody from Africa is so mired in "traditional tribal and clan identities" that they can't manage in an up-to-date, civilized country like America.
- "Somalia, Minnesota, and Common Sense"
(March 22, 2009)
- "The West and Today's Somali President: The Enemy of Your Enemy is Your Friend?"
(March 19, 2009)
- "Minnesotans Recruited for Terror?"
(March 10, 2009)
- "Al Shabaab May Be Running Somalia Now: Just What We Need"
(January 26, 2009)
- "America to Unilaterally Attack Somalia!"
(January 8, 2009)
- "Guinea, Military Rule, and Terrorism: Beware Hasty Judgment"
(December 29, 2008)
- "Recruiting for Terror? Somali Minnesotans Missing, One Found Dead"
(December 4, 2008)
- "Piracy, Terrorism, and a Changing World"
(November 20, 2008)
- "Monkey Pirates, Jews, and Zionists? Get a Grip!"
(October 14, 2008)
- "Group Linked to Al Qaeda May Have Killed Minnesota Man Recruited in Somalia "
FOXNews (June 7, 2009)
- "Somali teen from Minnesota reportedly killed in homeland"
CNN (June 7, 2009)
- "Somali youth from Minneapolis dies in homeland"
Minneapolis Star-Tribune (June 7, 2009)