Terrorists linked to Al-Qaida have recruited and radicalized over 40 Americans to join its cause in a war-stricken Somalia, a report has said.
According to Republican Representative Peter King, at least 15 of the forty recruits have been killed. These numbers are based on the findings of the House Homeland Security committee.
The committee revealed the numbers in its third hearing on the threat of Islamic radicalization in America. King says, “The investigation shows that links between Al Shabab and Al-Qaida are closer and more dangerous than officials previously acknowledged.”
Most of the terror plans against the United States have involved people “espousing a radical and violent view of Islam.”
The report claims that Al-Qaida agents, in the Arabian Peninsula, trained American Muslims to fight with Shabab. Deemed by U.S. security officials as one of the most dangerous branches, at least 21 of the 40 Americans are thought to have traveled there from Minnesota.
According to Al Arabiya News, there is a large Somali-American community living in Minnesota. Federal investigators have paid close attention to the state over the years because of the threat of radicalization.
Former government prosecutor in Minnesota, W. Anders Folk said, “The reality is that even in the best-case scenario, even when a family member reports them as a potential threat to the US, we sometimes miss them. It’s incredibly scary in that regard.”
However, top Democrat on the committee, Congressman Bennie Thompson thinks the threat is being exaggerated.
Thompson said, “Al Shabab has fewer than 3,000 members, and has never attacked the U.S. or our interest abroad. Somalia is in the grips of a humanitarian crisis. There is no threat to the U.S. from Al Shabab.”
Critics have condemned King’s questioning of Islamic radicalization, saying it would only incite feelings of anti-Muslim regard and turn the focus from truly serious threats.
King defends himself and his aims against the criticism, especially from The New York Times for suggesting the hearings should look into other threats, such as the “right-wing extremist” responsible for the Oslo killings.
He said, “If they had even a semblance of intellectual honesty, The Times and others would know and admit that there is no equivalency in the threat to our homeland from a deranged gunman and the international terror community apparatus Al-Qaida and its affiliates who are recruiting people in this country.”