Minneapolis Somali youth group best antidote to al-Shabaab - KMSP-TV

Minneapolis Somali youth group is antidote to al-Shabaab recruiting

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Looking like a cross between hipsters and young execs, the members of Ka Joog held court in an old theater at Seven Corners in Minneapolis.

For a few years, the Somali youth group has been inspiring young people through education and the arts by holding spoken word and poetry slams, even taking a group to Yellowstone National Park. They're connecting with 10,000 young people, and they're the best antidote anyone's found yet to the recruiting efforts of al-Shabaab.

"This is a process, my friends. No one becomes radicalized overnight There are lots of issues in the community that causes someone to be radicalized," Ka Joog executive director Mohamed Farah said.

Even the feds are fans. Up in the balcony sits FBI agent Kyle Loven ingesting their message.

"They've taken a role in trying to prevent young men in traveling to Somalia, and in that regard the FBI and Minnesota should stand behind this organization," Loven said.

Parents like Ahmed Shukri say the al-Shabaab recruiters are to blame.

"The thing that everyone needs to fight is not the kids, it's the recruiters," Shukri said.

Some already in prison prayed on the young, using religion to cloak their terrorist ideology, targeting drop outs, the unemployed, the disenfranchised and convincing them to return to a country most don't remember.

"Excuse my language, but it's like coming from hell to heaven. So who in heaven would want to come back?" Shukri said.

Al-Shabaab's recruiting videos tell a different story, and feature young men from Minnesota who they say died as martyrs. It's a battle fought with slick videos and hip hop, just as much as guns and bombs.

"They use things are attractive to the youth, the youth are not really attracted to al-Shabaab," a Ka Joog member said to the group.

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