Minneapolis has become recruiting ground for Islamic extremists

MINNEAPOLIS - The U.S. military said today the number of airstrikes against ISIS targets in Iraq has topped 100.

President Barack Obama is getting closer to a decision on whether to attack ISIS bases in Syria as well. He's expected to meet with the National Security Council on Thursday.

An American named Douglas McAuthur McCain died in Syria fighting for ISIS, the acronym for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, which has taken over parts of Iraq and Syria.

He was from Minnesota - where he and other Americans were recruited.

The Cedar-Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis is sometimes called "Little Mogadishu." It's center of the nation's largest concentration of Somalis, and fertile ground for Islamic terrorist groups recruiting new fighters.

McCain grew up just a 15-minute drive from here.

"He [was] not talkative. He was quiet," community leader Omar Jamal said.

Jamal says he met McCain briefly. McCain was not Somali, but his Facebook page shows he had many contacts in that community.

Jamal said almost everyone in the community denounces terror groups. But as many as 40 other young men from Minneapolis have joined Islamic fighters after they were pulled in by jihadists through social media.

"They're using twitter, they're using Facebook, they're using any means available to get in a computer system," Jamal said.

McCain's own Twitter account gave hints that his recent conversion to Islam had turned militant. He called for prayers for ISIS.

It's a similar path to that of his high school friend, Troy Kastigar. Kastigar posted a recruiting video in 2009, before he was killed fighting for the terrorist group al-Shabab in Somalia.

en0827grab11yuccas.jpg
Troy Kastigar, who went to high school in Minneapolis, posted a recruiting video in 2009, before he was killed fighting for the terrorist group al-Shabab in Somalia.
CBS News

It is now not just young men, according to Abdirazak Bihi, another community activist.

"They change places and tactics. No one was worried about females. But we are aware of their messages that they were sending to the last few months over the Internet, including recruiting young women to be married off to the jihadis," Bihi said.

That's alarming the parents of young women and girls in the community.

"It's terrifying. It's really scary," Bihi said.

Minneapolis families now fear their daughters are either in or traveling to Syria. We're told that a lack of jobs can make young people here an easy mark for terrorist recruiters.

Comments

Follow Us

On Twitter