MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - There are major concerns in the Somali community over a terror recruitment video released by al-Shabaab. The video specifically references the Twin Cities and young men who have left Minnesota to fight for terror groups.
A task force met with members of the community on Monday to discuss these fears, where they condemned the video and called on young Muslims to do the same.
In a war of conflicting messages tangled in a web of religion, it's this simple, straightforward plea that Muslim leaders hope will stick: "We call on the Muslim youth to reject the trap of being lured or recruited by extremist groups like al-Shabaab," community member Farhio Khalif said.
But what they're up against is a polished, sophisticated message that sells a dream. And in their latest video, al-Shabaab makes a point to show off the Minnesota men who bought in. At nearly an hour long, the video paints a fateful picture of terror.
But among the many contradictions is the fact that most of those depicted are long dead.
"The danger is there. And with young kids, when they access this kind of video when there are no parents around, it is very dangerous," one woman said.
Parents and community leaders know what they're up against. And to fight back they need a message that's also unified and convincing -- a message that's shaped by after-school programs, youth outreach and resources that so far don't exist.
"What we need to have is what exists or is available in every other community. We don't even have a community center for the Somali American community," community leader Abdi Bihi said.