I have never minded asking the tough questions, but sometimes I do wonder why it has to be me. Either way, it has to be, so here goes. Last week we had congressional hearings into the radicalization of Muslims in America, as I'm sure you all know. Representative Keith Ellison, from Minnesota's 5th district, gave an emotional testimony (okay, he cried like a girl) in opposition to the hearings. Brave? I suppose to some. Questionable? To me, yes. I think of things in a very practical way. What might possibly come of these hearings? It is likely that we will either discover that there is a problem of U.S. Muslims being radicalized, or that there is not a problem and the while issue has been over-blown. Hence, I wonder why a Muslim would protest this. Assuming that it is a religion of peace and love, and that the vast majority of it's members practice this religion in such a manner, wouldn't they want the hearings to get the truth out?
Now I assume that Mr. Ellison is an honorable man, and he is perhaps either afraid of what the hearings could turn up or he is simply saddened by the bad spotlight on his religion. I don't intend to make any accusation here against him, but I did decide to check into these hearings and see which answer is more likely. Was their some damning evidence that Ellison would have likely known about that would show there is a radicalization amongst Muslims, or was it largely empty rhetoric that that served little purpose other than to shame his faith? I was rather shocked to find this.
Minneapolis Community Activist
Founder of the Somali Education and Advocacy Center
Abdirizak Bihi knows firsthand the devastating human toll that jihadist recruitment has on families. In November 2008, his teenage nephew joined a group of Somali-American youth who sneaked out of their Minnesota homes and went to Somalia to fight for the al-Shabaab terrorist organization. Burhan Hassan had a promising future before that, and had planned to go to Harvard. Instead, he was killed in Mogadishu in June 2009.
Bihi has spoken out against the radicalization of Somali youth ever since.
Since 2007, more than 20 teenagers and young men from the Minneapolis area disappeared and went to Somalia to fight for al-Shabaab. At least four of them have been killed. Bihi says the indictment in August of 14 people charged with providing money, services and personnel confirm what many local Somalis have long suspected – that al-Shabaab operatives have been raising money from them under false pretenses.
Like many of the others who went to Somalia to join al-Shabaab, Burhan Hassan had been spending a great deal of time in local mosques before leaving the United States. Bihi believes that the leadership of a local mosque, the Abubakar as-Saddique Mosque in Minneapolis, has been less than forthcoming about who his nephew was meeting with there.
Instead, the mosque has sought to ridicule and discredit anyone who questioned fundraising practices there, Bihi charges. He said mosque leaders tried to discourage parents from speaking out when young Somalis began disappearing in 2007 – warning them that if they talked to the FBI, they would be incarcerated at Guantanamo Bay. He claims that CAIR also worked actively to discourage Somalis from talking to the FBI.
A group of about 50 Somalis picketed outside a CAIR social event in 2009 saying the group was interfering with an investigation into the men's disappearances.
Now, I don't mean to be too critical here, but would Ellison have likely known about this? It is happening not only in his home state, but in the district he represents. If he didn't know about it, he is totally incompetent. And if he does know that in his small district in one state that over the last four years over 20 men have left to fight for a terrorist group, would that not fit the bill of investigation worthy?
Let me put it this way. If Cheney were loudly protesting hearings into Halliburton and this is what came out of them, what would be said?
Representative Ellison had to know that this was going on. So why stand in the way of the hearings? I would like to hear him asked this question, and I have emailed his office to personally ask for his response since I have little faith in anyone in the media to pay any attention and ask the question.