Somali journalist claims photo shows MN man in Syria - FOX 10 News | myfoxphoenix.com

Somali journalist claims photo shows MN man in Syria

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MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) -

A terror group in Syria is offering a one-way ticket, and a Somali journalist says he has photographic proof that some young men from Minnesota are taking it.

Somehow, someone convinced 20-year-old Abdi Mohamud Nur and a dozen other young men to leave the Twin Cities one week ago and fly to Turkey before crossing into Syria to fight for al-Qaeda affiliate al-Nusra, which opposes the regime of President Bashar Assad.

A Somali journalist says one of the Minnesota men in Syria was photographed holding a Koran with what appears to be a suicide bomb strapped to his chest.



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"This seems to be part two of 2008. Sadly to say, the community is being victimized by cancerous ideology promoted by terrorists' groups," Mohammed Farah lamented.

Farah saw a similar recruiting effort play out 6 years ago when 24 young men left for Somalia to fight for al-Shabaab. In fact, that's why they started Ka Joog, a Somali youth outreach group that sponsors 4H clubs and the first Somali Boy Scout troop. Farah says they target the same kids as the terror recruiters do.

"We need to make sure young people are educated, not just academically but socially," he said. "These are individuals lacking membership and guidance, and these are the individuals they sake."

This time around, law enforcement is much more on the ball. Agents met with community leaders and passed out cards for anyone who has information.

"The community is still waiting to find who is behind this," Abdi Bihi told Fox 9 News.

Bihi believes there's a local recruiter, but he says social media also plays a role. So far, al-Nusra is believed to have recruited men from Asia, Canada and Europe.

Yet, six years after the first wave, the challenge is the same: Convince young people there are jobs and opportunities in Minnesota, that life in Minnesota has more purpose than death somewhere else.

"We're in a better position," Bihi said. "Still a big issue. Shows we have a lot of work ahead of us."

On occasion, Nur had attended the Dar Al-Farooq mosque in Bloomington. On Thursday, the mosque released a statement saying "Al Farooq Youth & Family Center do not have any knowledge of the circumstances of his disappearance."

The FBI has asked anyone with information on the Syrian travelers to call them at 763-569-8020 or visit www.fbi.gov/fttips.

MORE: FBI says Somalis leaving Minnesota to fight in Syria

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