The Al Shabaab Threat: We May Be On The Verge Of Chronic Terror In Our Cities

The Mall Of America in Bloomington, Minnesota has issued a statement indicating it has increased mall security in response to a video which terrorist group Al Shabaab claims to have released. The video calls for attacks on malls, including The Mall of America, one of the largest malls in the United States.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson reacted to the video by warning that, “groups like ISIL [ISIS], al-Shabaab, AQAP (al Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula) are now publicly calling for attacks either through the internet, through videos, through publications, which means that we need to respond militarily but we also have to have a whole government approach through law enforcement, homeland security and frankly countering violent extremism efforts here in the homeland in communities.” Johnson also said that, “we’re in a new phase now and I’m afraid that this most recent video release reflects that.”

The threat that some Muslim immigrants pose to the nation’s security would have been a logical choice of topic for the White House’s recent three-day summit on terrorism.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t even addressed.

On the contrary, Vice President Joe Biden made it clear that the “wave” of Muslim immigration is “not going to stop.” Paul Sperry, in an editorial for Investors.Com, describes the situation as more like a tsunami than a wave.

Sperry makes a few additional points:

  • “Between 2010 and 2013, the Obama administration imported almost 300,000 new immigrants from Muslim nations — more immigrants than the U.S. let in from Central America and Mexico combined over that period.
  • Many of the recent Muslim immigrants are from terrorist hot spots like Iraq, where the Islamic State operates. From 2010-2013, Obama ushered in 41,094 Iraqi nationals from there.
  • Now the State Department says it will quadruple the number of refugees brought here from Syria, where IS is headquartered.
  • The U.S. will admit as many as 2,000 Syrian nationals by the end of fiscal year 2015, up from 525 since fiscal 2011.
  • Top U.S. counterterror officials say terrorists could easily slip into the country from Iraq and Syria, in spite of promised screening procedures for such refugees.”

House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mike McCaul recently referred to these practices as, “a federally sanctioned welcome party to potential terrorists.”  Sperry points out that, “if just a fraction of the 300,000 new Muslim immigrants already here follow in the footsteps of the Franco-Algerian brothers who recently terrorized Paris, we could be facing chronic terror in our cities.”

The authorities are already in over their heads in terms of homegrown ISIS jihadists who already reside in the U.S. So, is there any rational reason for allowing even more potential jihadists into the country? It is an exercise in fatality.  Already, the FBI has open cases against ISIS suspects in every state except for Alaska and more than 100 American Muslims have aligned themselves with the terrorist group. In addition to that, it is estimated that at least a dozen fighters have returned to the states and may be in the process of forming sleeper cells.
This is not a new threat. Al Shabaab has been operating in Minnesota for years now, recruiting and communicating regularly with Somali headquarters. And, back in December 2011, the House Homeland Security Committee issued a report which affirms that al Shabaab-related federal indictments “account for the largest number and significant upward trend in homegrown terrorism cases” filed by the Department of Justice since 2009.  Additionally, on Christmas Day 2009 al Shabaab member, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, attempted a suicide bombing on Northwest Airlines Flight 253.

Terrorist recruiters in Iraq and Syria are now targeting Muslim youth in Minnesota and there are three confirmed cases of Minnesotans traveling to Syria, with more rumored to have done so.These particular recruiters use tactics similar to those of al Shabaab and the goal is centered on the establishment of an Islamic state. The invitation is extended to doctors, engineers and other individuals who would be an asset to the organization. Of course, help will be needed for rebuilding roads and buildings, etc. The recruitment techniques are professional and sophisticated, making use of social media, a glossy magazine and various compelling videos.

Within the Minneapolis Somali-American community the most publicly visible individual is Abdirizak Bihi, the founder and director of the Somali Education and Social Advocacy Center. Bihi is the center’s only employee. His mission is to derail the numerous unemployed malcontents in the area—intervening, hopefully before al Shabaab gets to them.

Over a year ago, the hot topic around the Minneapolis/St.Paul area was the bungled Navy SEAL raid in Somalia, which fell short of its mission—that of capturing a particular al-Shabaab member. “They were brandishing American weapons on al-Shabab websites,” Bihi explains. Proving to be quite a morale boost for the terrorist group, word on the street at that time was that “al Shabaab is stronger and can defeat the U.S.”