How Twin Cities' 'Best' Somali Youth Ended Up Jihadis

Islamist sympathies take promising men from Minneapolis to Mogadishu
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 12, 2009 11:14 AM CDT
Al-Shabaab insurgents, seen, in Mogadishu, Somalia, Saturday Dec. 27, 2008.   (AP Photo/Mohamed Sheikh Nor)
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(Newser) – For a group of young Americans, the path to an al-Qaeda-affiliated terror group in Somalia led through the Carlson School of Management in Minneapolis, where one planned to become a doctor; another, an entrepreneur. But now the students are at the center of what may be the most pressing domestic terror probe since 9/11, the New York Times reports. “This case is unlike anything we have encountered,” admits one FBI agent.

Most of the young men—whom one relative called “our best kids”—are Somali refugees whose families fled war-torn Somalia. Feeling alienated from their American peers, they returned to their native country to halt an Ethiopian incursion. But national security officials fear the men pose a special threat to the US because they’re armed with American passports. One jihadi, a friend recalled, refuted the claim. “Why would I do that?” he said. “My mom could be walking down the street.”