Amir Meshal has a fascinating history. He's originally from New Jersey, but back in 2007 he was detained and interrogated by the FBI in Kenya after escaping from Somalia. Somehow, his travels brought him to Minnesota, and to a mosque in Bloomington, which kicked him out this summer.
Friday prayers bring hundreds to the Al-Farooq Youth and Family Center, which is perhaps the largest mosque in the Twin Cities. But not everyone is welcome -- not after Meshal began attending prayer and hanging out earlier this year.
In June, the center called police and had Meshal, 31, removed and ticketed for trespassing. According to the police report, the mosque said "we have concerns about Meshal interacting with our youth."
Fox 9 has learned some of the travelers to Syria for ISIS had occasionally attended Al-Farooq, including a 19-year old St. Paul girl who left for Syria two weeks ago.
The director of Al-Farooq told Fox 9 a volunteer alerted them that Meshal was talking in terms of jihad and a radical Islamist ideology. The director said they had no patience for that, called police, and had him trespassed. What they don't understand is why the FBI hasn't arrested him, or why other mosques in the Twin Cities haven't banned him as well.
Amir Meshal has a complicated history with the FBI. Seven years ago, he was arrested in Kenya after escaping from Somalia. He admits to being at a training camp, but says he wasn't a terrorist.
In a lawsuit, filed on his behalf by the ACLU, Meshal says he went to Somalia to enrich his studying of Islam. He was interrogated more than 30 times by two FBI agents, threatened with torture, and shuffled between jails in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia before being brought back to the U.S. three months later and released without charges.
The lawsuit was dismissed two months ago, but the case is well-documented on the internet, leading many in the Somali community to believe he might actually be working as an informant for the FBI or CIA, or some kind of double agent.
What role Amir Meshal may play in any recruiting, and for whom, is unknown, but Al-Farooq says he's not welcomed back to the center.
According to the ACLU's lawsuit, the FBI actually offered Meshal the opportunity to serve as a government informant. In exchange, they would take his name off the no fly list. Because he's on that list, he's not able to visit his mother and extended family who live in Egypt.
We contacted the FBI, but they had no comment. We haven't been able to reach Amir Meshal, and we don't know where he's currently living.