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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

How Somali Al-Shabab recruits Western 'martyrs'

NATIONAL POST, Canada

In a video posted on the Internet, 10 militants-in-training jog on a sandy trail on the Somali plains. Their faces are masked but the one in the red-checkered scarf and white runners is alleged to be a young Canadian.

His name is Abdul Karim.

“We have a global mission,” one of the Al-Shabab trainees says into the camera, speaking in English and holding a worn assault rifle. “Come join us and defend the religion of Allah.”

A police investigation now underway in Ontario by the Integrated National Security Enforcement Team (INSET) is trying to trace how Canadian youths are ending up in Somalia at the paramilitary training camps of Al-Shabab, the al-Qaeda-linked militant group.

A top-secret government report obtained by the National Post says Al-Shabab, which emerged from the heavily armed chaos of Somalia in 2006, is using a variety of methods to entice Canadian youths to its camps. “Islamist extremists are radicalizing and recruiting Somali-Canadian youths within Canada to travel to Somalia for jihad training,” says the Integrated Threat Assessment Centre report, titled “Al-Shabab’s Recruitment of Youths from Canada.”

The Canadian Security Intelligence Service said five Somali-Canadians who left Toronto between September and November 2009 “could receive weapons and related training” in Somalia and “potentially engage in Al-Shabab-related violent activities,” spokeswoman Isabelle Scott said.

A sixth such Somali-Canadian is presumed dead.

Police in the United States and Europe are conducting similar investigations. A Danish-Somali killed 24 people in a suicide bombing in Mogadishu last December. On June 5, two New Jersey men were arrested at JFK airport as they were allegedly on their way to Africa to join Al-Shabab.


The 40-minute Al-Shabab video mentions Ethiopia, but only once. It does, however, mention fighting the United States, exacting revenge over the Danish cartoons and speaks repeatedly of a global fight against non-Muslims. “We are coming you Christians, we are coming you Jews,” it says.

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