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Saturday, November 29, 2014

Sun News : Somali-Canadians seduced by ISIS

Sun News : Somali-Canadians seduced by ISIS

In an online video made by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), a twenty-something former student from Calgary's Somali-Canadian community made sure he would never leave the fight with ISIS.
"This is a message to Canada, and all of America...we are coming, and we will destroy you," said Farah Mohamed Shirdon while burning his passport around a campfire with other compatriots doing the same.
Shirdon also sent a message back home: ISIS is stealing their youth.
Edmonton Somali community leader Mahamad Accord says the number of people leaving to go to Syria is growing.
"Six people that we notice, but it could be more," said Accord.
More are missing.
Accord says radicalists are directly recruiting young Somali-Canadians, feeding on lack of opportunity and the hardship of fitting into a new culture.
"They can say 'Ahha, you belong again, you're welcome, you're valued, your contribution's valued,' that's what's missing, and that's what they're offering over there. They're saying 'Wow, your a brotherhood, that's why the people join the gangs...There's so many things that we can offer them, but we have to offer them, because those guys they're doing a better job then we're doing."
On how they get overseas, how jihadists contact them, the facts are sparse. What the community has came second hand. But it's no small issue.
Alberta has 35,000 Somali-Canadians. The Canadian Somali Congress says of the 12,000 in Edmonton, 60 percent are recent immigrants or first generation under 30. That's the target demographic for ISIS. It's a problem large enough to get the government on board.
"From meeting with the Somali community, these are peaceful people, there are some radicals in their groups, and they want to help their youth from day one...It is a major concern," said Alberta Justice Minister Jonathan Denis.
Critics say going to the media accord is self-serving, creating harmful stereotypes, making life even harder for young people who aren't getting recruited.
They also point to the fact of the 160 Canadians fighting jihad overseas, only two are confirmed as Somali.
Accord says he agrees it's an issue for all communities, but says saving lives is what's important.
"What I'm saying those people that think that, we can hide our head in the sand, and this thing will cure itself, I think they're wrong...cancer is cancer, this issue is a cancer, if you hide it, you know what happens," said Accord.

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