Kenya attack focuses attention on young Somalis in U.S.

(CBS News) MINNEAPOLIS - The Cedar-Riverside Neighborhood of Minneapolis is called Little Mogadishu.

Minnesota is home to a highest concentration of Somalis in the U.S.
CBS

From the mosques to the markets, to the man on the street, there was condemnation of the actions of theSomalia-based terrorists of al-Shabab.

Who is the terror group behind Kenya mall attack?

Kenya claims upper hand in mall hostage crisis
Americans involved in Nairobi mall siege?
Obama: Kenya mall attack a "terrible outrage"
Americans involved in Nairobi mall siege?

"All Somali people dislike al-Shabab because of not only the violence in their message but they're really trying to change the makeup of the Somali nation," said Aman Obsiye, a law student.

But the community has been described as a Jihadist pipeline. Al-Shabab's message has proven irresistible to some young men.

An online video released by al-Shabab last month featured two Somali-Americans and a man who can be heard saying, "If you guys knew how much fun we have over here. This is the real Disneyland."

It is believed that all three men in the video died there. The FBI estimates 20 people have left Minnesota for Mogadishu.

"That's the tip of the iceberg," said Abdirizak Bihi, a local Somali leader with the Somali Education and Social Advocacy Center, who said he believes the number is more like 60.

CBS News spoke with Bihi Monday, following the weekend attack on an upscale mall in Kenya.

Abdirizak Bihi, is a local Somali leader with the Somali Education and Social Advocacy Center
CBS

"It's not about heaven. It's not about ideology. It's about engaging a young man who's lost," Bihi said, when asked what appeal al-Shabab holds for young Somali's.

"They hold his hand. They take him to the mosque. They raise him. They indoctrinate him," Bihi added. "They blame everything he's complaining about... they blame it on the infidel. They give him a target."

Bihi said they don't tell the young recruits that their ticket is one-way only, and that those who want to go back may face execution. Even still, the recruits keep heading overseas. The latest left just 13 days ago.

  • Dean Reynolds

    Dean Reynolds is a CBS News National Correspondent based in Chicago.

Comments

CBSN Live

pop-out
Live Video

Follow Us

Watch CBSN Live

Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the new 24/7 digital news network. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.

On Twitter