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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Arrested at MSP Airport with 1-way ticket to Somalia - KMSP-TV

Arrested at MSP Airport with 1-way ticket to Somalia - KMSP-TV

He had a one-way ticket to Somalia, but he never made it past the security checkpoint at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.
Zaki Mohammed Sugule was arrested at the airport on Presidents' Day, acting suspiciously. According to airport police, the 39-year-old was traveling with a fake Somali passport -- the wrong color, poorly laminated and name misspelled. Sugule told police he was trying to self-deport himself out of the United States in order to "turn his life around."
Fox 9 has learned federal agents became concerned because in his pocket was the name and address of a contact in Syria, raising the fear Sugule may have been attempting to fly to Somalia to fight for al-Shabaab, or perhaps would attempt to reach Syria to fight for ISIS.
Another East African man -- who we are not identifying -- was arrested the same day for traveling with false documents, and it's unknown if the two were traveling together.
Several people who knew Sugule say he was known as the local drunk or inebriant. They can't imagine he would planning to fight for ISIS or al-Shabaab. They just don't think he's competent enough.
Sugule has been arrested more than 40 times in the last decade for assault, disorderly conduct, and terroristic threats. At the Starbucks in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood last year, he threatened to kill people with a drill bit. He has a habit of sucker punching people at random, and once used a piece of broken glass to slash someone across the face.
Airport police arrested Sugule last week on five outstanding warrants, and a few days ago, a judge sentenced him to 1.5 years in prison. Ominously, Sugule told airport police, according to the report, "after he cleared up his warrants he would be coming back again to leave the U.S."

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Prominent Somali scholar dies in the US

Prominent Somali scholar dies in the US

A Somali professor known his rich oral poetry writing and nationalism has died in New Jersy on Tuesday, aged 72, relatives told HOL on Wednesday.
Prof. Said Samatar who co-authored Nation In search Of a State with David D has died after hours in coma after falling off his home’s stairs.
Born in Somali Region of  Ethiopia in 1943, Prof. Samatar spent his early years in nomadic environment having completed his early education with a stint at a middle school in Nazareth, Ethiopia before moving to Mogadishu in 1970 to start working at the National Teaching College.
His death is a big loss for Somalia’s poetry society which besides him lost many other legends.
Coming to the United States on a scholarship, Samatar commenced studies at Goshen College in Goshen, Indiana. He attended early morning and night classes, while working during the day as a welder to support his wife, who at the time was pregnant with their two children. Samatar graduated from Goshen College in 1973 with a degree in history and literature. He followed that with a Master's degree in Northeast African history, and received a graduate certificate in African studies. In 1979, he obtained a doctorate in African history from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.
Soon after, a job offer arrived from Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, Kentucky, where Samatar taught from 1979-1981. In July 1981, he accepted a post at Rutgers University in Newark, New Jersey, where he has since remained. His daughter is award-winning author Sofia Samatar
Prof. Samatar has seen of the most important literature faces for Somalia, a nation often described as Bards.


Profile: Said SamatarProfessor and Editor of the Horn of Africa Journal
Faculty
Department of African American and African Studies, Department of History Research Interests: Modern African history, esp. eastern and southern Africa; African resistance movements to European imperialism; Middle East; history of Islam.

Local Muslims condemn Somalian Extremist threats on Mall of Amer - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Local Muslims condemn Somalian Extremist threats on Mall of Amer - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Local Muslims are condemning this weekend's threats on western shopping centers, including the Mall of America.  Members of a local mosque in Rochester say these actions go against the core beliefs of their religion.

"If you kill one human being, no religion mentioned, a human being, a human life, if you take it away for no reason whatsoever it's like as if you killed the whole humanity," said Somalian Muslim Abdi Roble quoting a verse from the Quran.

The Muslim Community in Rochester can hear the words and see the threats, but they are not listening.

"When you see a few people, or a few bad apples, like you know acting out of their own religion and doing things on their own, that's exactly where the problem is coming from," said Roble.

Here, believers follow the Quran.  They read the words and understand the meanings, but cannot fathom how others can not.

"Every little wicked idea that comes out in the world you will see supporters and people that are like minded which makes you think like what are you seeing what are you reading," said Roble.

Somalian members of the mosque listen to the Imam.  His translated words far from echo what is being said back home.

"He said it stems from people that are not straight up in the head, that don't have the basic qualification of anything," said Roble as he translates for Elsayed Mahmoud

Instead, members of the Mosque believe they are targeting areas in this region because of the vast Somalian community.

"They try to scare us, they bring scare tactics, and he said those aren't even men, those are little boys doing this," said Roble continuing to translate for Elsayed Mahmoud.

Community members say the terrorists should try and understand the second part of the Quran verse Roble told earlier.

"If you save a human life it is as if you saved the whole world."

Somali-Americans show support for Mall of America | Minnesota Public Radio News

Somali-Americans show support for Mall of America | Minnesota Public Radio News

A group of Somali Minnesotans gathered at the Mall of America Tuesday afternoon to show that they will not be intimidated by the terrorist group al-Shabab.
By going to the mall and having lunch there, the group of 10 Somalis and two others aimed to show people the mall is safe, said Abdirahman Mukhtar, a community engagement and young adults coordinator at the Brian Coyle Community Center in Minneapolis.

"People have to understand that no one will stop our daily lives and no one should tell us what we can do and cannot do here in Minnesota," said Mukhtar, who organized the gathering. "Mall of America is our pride in Minnesota. We brag about the Mall of America."
Jibril Afyare, a software engineer for IBM and president of the Somali Citizens League in Minneapolis, took off time from work to be at the mall.
"We are here to shop and we are not afraid of these lunatics," he said of al-Shabab. "They cannot drive a wedge between the Somali community who are peace-loving and civilized and our brothers and sisters of America."
Protesting the terrorist threats. 
On left, Jibril Afyare, Abdirahman Mukhtar, on right Phill Kelly and Mahdi Abdi ate lunch at the Mall of America on Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2014. 

Afyare, Mukhtar and Farhio Khalif, executive director of the nonprofit group Voice of East African Women, all had lunch at the mall in a show of support for its businesses. As local reporters interviewed the Somalis, other mall visitors told them they appreciated their presence at the mall.
"Thank you. You are showing a good message," Judy Stuthman, 74, of Roseville, who came to the mall to shop.
"Al-Shabab is probably having some difficulties recruiting and they saw this as a way," she said of the video released over the weekend that mentioned the mall as a potential terrorism target.
Stuthman said the Somalis at the mall are not "letting the radicals hijack the message of security in the community and security in [their] religion."
The mall is a popular destination for thousands of Somali families who bring their children and friends to the mall during the Eid holidays, Mukhtar said.
He got his first job at the mall in 1998 and worked at Knott's Camp Snoopy as a cashier on weekends before it became Nickelodeon Universe.
Since the al-Shabab threat became the subject of international news, Somalis in Minnesota have made it clear they denounce violent ideology. But some have expressed fears that they will face a backlash from others in the community.
Minnesotans should be cautious, said Khalif, of Voice of East African Women, but they should not "look at us differently because of our religion or because we are from Somalia."
Somali-Americans, she said, enjoy the mall as their neighbors do.
"Please go to Mall of America," Khalif said. "It's a fun place to take your children and eat a lot of great food."

Obama Nominates 1st US Ambassador to Somalia Since 1991 - ABC News

Obama Nominates 1st US Ambassador to Somalia Since 1991 - ABC News

President Barack Obama has nominated a career diplomat to be the first U.S. ambassador to Somalia in nearly 25 years, filling a post that has been vacant since the Horn of Africa country collapsed into chaos in 1991, forcing the closure of the American embassy.
Obama on Tuesday tapped Foreign Service veteran Katherine Simonds Dhanani for the job, which will be based in neighboring Kenya until security conditions permit the embassy in the Somali capital of Mogadishu to reopen, the State Department said. Dhanani, currently director of regional and security affairs in the department's Africa bureau, has previously served in India, Mexico, and Guyana and has significant African experience, having been posted in Zimbabwe, Gabon, Zambia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Republic of the Congo.
The State Department said the nomination is a sign of the U.S. commitment to Somalia.
"This historic nomination signals the deepening relationship between the United States and Somalia," spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement. "It also allows us to mark the progress of the Somali people toward emerging from decades of conflict. Somalia has considerable work ahead to complete its transition to a peaceful, democratic, and prosperous nation."
Somalia has been ravaged by conflict and instability since the ouster of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre 24 years ago, despite the formation of successive governments that have been plagued by civil strife, piracy and political uncertainty and continues to battle the al-Qaida affiliated al-Shabab militant group, which has staged attacks around east Africa and earlier this week threatened shopping malls in the United States and other Western nations.
Al-Shabab controlled much of Mogadishu during the years 2007 to 2011, but was pushed out of Somalia's capital and other major cities by African Union forces.
Despite major setbacks in 2014, al-Shabab continues to wage a deadly insurgency against Somalia's government and remains a threat in Somalia and the East African region. The group has carried out many attacks in Somalia and in neighboring countries, including Kenya, whose armies are part of the African Union troops bolstering Somalia's weak U.N.- backed government.
The U.S. Embassy closed in 1991 when Somalia's government collapsed in civil war. The situation quickly deteriorated, prompting the deployment of a U.S.-led U.N. peacekeeping mission. American troops withdrew from Somalia in 1994, months after the humiliating "Black Hawk Down" debacle when Somali militiamen shot down two U.S. helicopters. Eighteen U.S. soldiers were killed in the battle, which marked the beginning of the end of that U.S. military mission to bring stability.

Teenage Girl Leaves for ISIS, and Others Follow - NYTimes.com

Teenage Girl Leaves for ISIS, and Others Follow - NYTimes.com

Aqsa Mahmood’s family saw her as an intelligent and popular teenager who helped care for her three younger siblings and her grandparents at her home in Scotland. She listened to Coldplay, read Harry Potter novels and drank Irn Bru, a Scottish soft drink.
She aspired to be a pharmacist or a doctor, and they did not expect her to leave her home in Glasgow in November 2013 to go to Syria, where the authorities now say she is one of the most active recruiters of young British women to join the Islamic State.
The authorities are investigating possible links between Ms. Mahmood, who goes by the name Umm Layth (meaning Mother of the Lion), and the disappearance last week of three teenagers from London. They, too, are believed to have traveled to Syria to join the terrorist group also known as ISIS or ISIL.
The apparent trend of studious, seemingly driven young women leaving home to join violent jihadists has become disturbingly familiar.
A Metropolitan Police official said on Monday that one of the girls, Shamima Begum, had sent a Twitter message to a woman on Feb. 15, a couple of days before they left Britain, but declined to disclose her name.
Experts who track jihadist activity online, including Audrey Alexander at the International Center for the Study of Radicalization, in London, have identified that woman as Ms. Mahmood, 20.
She is now thought to live in Raqqa, Syria, the de facto capital of the Islamic State, where she married a jihadist and acts as a virtual den mother offering sometimes stern advice to peers who would follow in her footsteps.
As the families of the three missing girls made tearful appeals for their daughters to return home, Ms. Mahmood’s family issued a statement last weekend addressed to their own daughter, whom they called a “disgrace.” They said they were “full of horror and anger” that she “may have had a role to play” in recruiting the girls for the Islamic State.
“Your actions are a perverted and evil distortion of Islam,” the family said in their statement, released through their lawyer, Aamer Anwar. “You are killing your family every day with your actions. They are begging you to stop if you ever loved them.”
The young women — Kadiza Sultana, 16; Ms. Begum, 15; and Amira Abase, 15 — were described by a classmate as studious, argumentative and driven, not unlike Ms. Mahmood. Ms. Sultana’s Twitter feed showed that she followed many accounts of jihadist fighters. Ms. Begum, who sent a Twitter message to Ms. Mahmood, asked her own followers before she left to “keep me in your duas,” or prayers. (Their accounts were recently disabled.)
The teenagers told their families on Feb. 17 that they would be out for the day, but security camera video at Gatwick Airport, near London, showed that the girls had boarded a Turkish Airways flight to Istanbul, and the Metropolitan Police in London said Tuesday that they had arrived in Syria.
Another classmate from the girls’ school, Bethnal Green Academy in east London, took a Turkish Airlines flight in December and is thought to be in Syria. Police officers at the time questioned the three teenagers over their classmate’s disappearance, a Metropolitan Police officer said.
Like them, “Aqsa was very intelligent, very liked, very bubbly, kind, caring,” said Mr. Anwar, the lawyer. But the Islamic State has turned Ms. Mahmood into “a poster girl in Britain for recruitment,” he said, “and she herself is a high-value recruit.”
Members of Ms. Mahmood’s family said they had “absolutely no inkling” of her radicalization, according to Mr. Anwar. The oldest of two sisters and a brother, she lived with her parents and grandparents in a middle-class area of Glasgow. None of the women in her family wore a head scarf, Mr. Anwar said, but one day Ms. Mahmood began wearing a hijab and became “increasingly vocal and angry” about events in Syria.
“But you can go to any Muslim household,” he added, “and you would hear similar arguments being made.”
“It is those young people who are liked, who are smart, who think, who are caring, who are ripe for radicalization,” he said, not the outcasts.
When they do not receive adequate answers from their families, schools or the local mosque, they often turn to the Internet, Mr. Anwar said. Last year, a pair of 17-year-old twins from Manchester who traveled to Syria attracted widespread attention because they had been straight-A students who wanted careers in medicine.
The precise role Ms. Mahmood might have played in the flight of the three London teenagers is unclear, since Ms. Begum, not Ms. Mahmood, initiated their exchange on Twitter. Their conversation quickly moved to an encrypted social media channel, which is standard practice among would-be jihadists seeking practical information on how to reach Syria.
There are about 100 British women among the 550 Western women who are thought to have joined Islamist groups in Syria and Iraq, according to the Soufan Group, a security consultancy based in New York. Female recruits are generally younger than their male counterparts, said Ross Frenett of the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, a London research organization that studies extremism. As the radicals see it, “a 15-year-old makes a good wife,” he said. “A 14-year-old male is less useful as a combatant.”
Women who join the Islamic State try to entice other women to marry militants and help them build a new, retrograde Islamic society. Ms. Mahmood had emerged as one of the most vocal supporters of the Islamic State and one of its most established online recruiters, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadists’ online activity.
She has tried to incite terrorist attacks on Western countries through her Tumblr blog and multiple Twitter accounts, calling on British Muslims to follow the example of “brothers from Woolwich, Texas and Boston.” But she has also occasionally alluded to boredom doing housewifely duties.
She tweeted that, compared with Scotland, the winters in Syria “are too much,” and advised, “Sisters please don’t forget to pack thermal clothing or you’ll regret it later on.”
She also admonished them: “Sisters, please for the sake of Allah contact the sisters whom are online rather than approaching the brothers. Also know the fact many brothers whom you contact and chat to are married. Have some self-respect and don’t be a homewrecker :)”
The families of the three missing London teenagers have criticized the security services in Britain for failing to intervene to stop their daughters from going to Syria, even though they were monitoring Ms. Mahmood’s online activity.
After she left home more than a year ago, Ms. Mahmood called her parents from the Turkish border, telling them she would next see them on “Judgment Day” and take them to heaven, holding their hands. But the British security services advised her parents to keep their daughter’s disappearance “under the radar,” Mr. Anwar said.
“Had the security services really been concerned about Aqsa Mahmood’s welfare, they would have moved heaven and earth to get her back in November 2013,” he said.

Blast rocks Somali capital; 2 feared dead | Africa | Worldbulletin News

Blast rocks Somali capital; 2 feared dead | Africa | Worldbulletin News

Two were feared dead in a car bombing the northern Somalia capital Mogadishu on Tuesday.

"The information I have is that the explosion that took place at Kilometer 4 killed two people. We are investigating it," Ali Abdi Abdulleh, deputy commissioner of Hodan district, told The Anadolu Agency.

According to eyewitnesses the explosion occurred when a private car exploded as it was passing on a street linking the presidential palace to Mogadishu airport.

There has been no claim of responsibility for the blast.

Somalia has remained in the grip of on-again, off-again violence since the outbreak of civil war in 1991.

Last year, fractious Somalia appeared to inch closer to stability after government troops and African Union forces – deployed in the country since 2007 – drove Al-Shabaab from most of its strongholds.

The militant group, however, has continued to stage attacks against government forces and African peacekeepers.