The East African community of Minneapolis is coming together Friday night at the Brian Coyle Community Center to discuss how threats of terrorism and recruitment by al-Shabaab and ISIS are overshadowing the positive work of Somali-Americans and Muslim-Americans.
Community leaders will once again publicly condemn last weekend's video from the al-Qaeda linked terror group al-Shabaab that called for attacks on Western shopping centers, and specifically Mall of America.
On Tuesday, a group left the Brian Coyle Center and boarded a light rail train to Mall of America, where they had lunch to prove "there is nothing to be afraid of." Somali community leader Omar Jamal believes al-Shabaab is desperate to use scare tactics like the video to divide Muslims and Somalis in the United States.
"I'd like to tell Minnesotans, do not fall for this propaganda from the al-Shabaab machine," Jamal said. "It is not going to work. All they're looking for is attention."
Statement from Somali-American leaders in Minnesota (Feb. 23)
"The safety and security of Minnesotans and of all Americans is of utmost importance to Somali-Americans. We condemn all forms of terrorism or threats of terrorism, repudiate any individual or group that would carry out such attacks or make such threats and remain committed to being at the forefront of defeating religious or political extremism. While remaining vigilant, we must not allow a terror group to achieve its goal of spreading fear or panic. We must also prevent justifiable security concerns from being used as a pretext to promote hatred, prejudice and suspicion of the whole community. As a nation, we are better prepared and more united when we all work together to keep our communities safe."