Fox Hosts: Somali-Muslim Community In Minnesota “Considered By Some As … Ground Zero For ISIS Recruitment” In The US

From the May 6 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:

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STEVE DOOCY (CO-HOST): The Twin Cities, Minneapolis and St. Paul, are home to the Mall of America, four major sport teams, and the largest Somali-Muslim population in the United States. The area now considered by some as, in some cases, ground zero for ISIS recruitment inside America. So what is it really like on the streets of these Somali-American communities?

AINSLEY EARHARDT (CO-HOST): Pete Hegseth went to find out.

PETE HEGSETH (CO-HOST): That's right. We took to the streets. I'm from Minnesota, born and raised there. And we wanted to take a look. So more than 60 people from Minnesota’s omali community have attempted to go overseas to join the terrorist organization. What is making this area such a fertile ground for recruiting Islamists? One neighborhood in Minneapolis may hold the answer, so we went and took a look.


REPORTER: Terror connection leading right back to the Twin Cities.

REPORTER: Federal authorities say that a man has been arrested on terror-related charges.

REPORTER: Major concerns in the Somali community over a terror recruitment video that was released by Al Shabaab.


HEGSETH: It's often the lead story in the Twin Cities. Terror recruits coming from Minnesota, where thousands of Somalis relocated after civil war ripped their country apart in 1991. We’re here in the Cedar Riverside area of Minneapolis, what some call Little Mogadishu. These towers have long been a symbol of a very large Somali-Muslim population here in Minneapolis, what some would say an increasingly insular Muslim population.

MAN: Pretty much everybody here is nice. They love this country.

MAN: The worst propaganda is by news medias. Biased against, you know, all Muslims. And some people are targeting Muslims. Because I am Muslims doesn’t mean that I am a terrorist.

HEGSETH: Of more than 200 Islamic schools in the United States, at least two, likely more, are located in Minnesota. American government is listed as a subject at one of these schools. The Islamic schools here in Minnesota, they teach Sharia Law.

MAN: Yeah Sharia Law.

HEGSETH: And do they teach also American law, the U.S. Constitution?

MAN: Actually, I have no idea about that one.

HEGSETH: While many first generation Somalis come to America looking for a better life, we had a hard time finding people in the Cedar Riverside neighborhood who spoke English.


OMAR JAMAL: You go over there and you see someone who’s been there for like 20 years and he or she doesn’t speak a single word of English because they don't interact with people outside that circle. It creates an environment where the lone wolf is going to be easier to hide in.

HEGSETH: Omar Jamal is an outspoken community leader in Minneapolis. Is radicalization still going on right now? Are Somali youth still being recruited by ISIS as we speak?


HEGSETH: National security expert Ryan Muro has investigated radical mosques across the country and says terror recruits, most of them second-generation immigrants, feel isolated from society.

RYAN MURO: One of the critical factors in ISIS propaganda is saying that you belong in the caliphate and your life will be better under the caliphate. You'll get free health care, the social services will be wonderful, we'll all treat you as friends and family members. We'll hook you up with a husband or a wife. And so they have this illusion that the caliphate is a wonderful thing. And then they go over there and then they see the truth.

HEGSETH: At least two young people who worshipped at the Al-Farooq mosque in Bloomington near Minneapolis have attempted to join terror organizations.


JAMAL: U.S. government, since 9/11, has miserably failed to come up with a strategy to gain the minds and the hearts of the Muslim population. Until the U.S. government comes up with meaningful ways to engage not only Somalis in Minnesota but our Muslim community, I think we're going to have this war on terror for the next generation and the one after.

HEGSETH: In response to this story, the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) sent us a statement saying, “The Minnesota Muslim community has been working hard to address recruitment by the Al-Shabaab terror group and has achieved results, in that there have not been any new known recruits in the past few years. We urge the federal government to support this … Minnesota’s community based effort … Treating the Muslim community as suspect only harms relations with law enforcement and alienates and stigmatizes our communities.” CAIR has long been a defender of a lot of mosques.

DOOCY: Sure. Why have so many Somalis relocated to Minnesota?

HEGSETH: In many ways, Lutheran social services, good welfare benefits, a welcoming environment for all the right reasons. The problem is is that there hasn't been the kind of assimilation that you would want, necessarily, and not for a lack of outreach. That’s where the concern comes from. It's not usually the first-generation. It's that second-generation youth that don’t feel a connection either to the country they came from or the country that they’re in. And so they’re seduced by propaganda sometimes.

EARHARDT: What’s interesting, though, a fourth of those who have been arrested for aiding terrorists have come from that area.


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