Somali youth speak out against al-Shabab recruiting

Ka Joog held a press conference Wednesday to discuss the issue in the wake of the attack on a Nairobi mall.

Marion Renault

A Somali youth organization gathered Wednesday to address concerns about recruitment of area youth by the terrorist group al-Shabab.

Ka Joog, a Twin Cities nonprofit geared toward supporting local Somali-American youth, held a press conference in Minneapolis’ Cedar-Riverside neighborhood in response to last week’s attacks on Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya.

Al-Shabab, an extremist Somali Islamic group, claimed responsibility for the attack, which has killed at least 67 and injured 175 others, according to the Associated Press.

At the press conference, Ka Joog specifically addressed concerns about al-Shabab recruiting in the area.

“Minneapolis has been no stranger to recruitment efforts by radical extremists,” said a press release from Ka Joog. “This new wave brings a fresh sense of fear and concern … to [safeguard] its youth from succumbing to extremist requirement.”

A Minneapolis man, Mahamud Said Omar, was found guilty last year of helping at least 20 men — including two former University of Minnesota students — travel to Somalia to fight for al-Shabab.

Representatives from Ka Joog have recently traveled to Washington, D.C., for talks with the president of Somalia and Kenyan Ambassador Jean Kamau, according to the press release.