From Minneapolis to Mogadishu

2010 ,    » 26 Comments
Ratings: 5.43/10 from 7 users.

From Minneapolis to MogadishuAt least 20 young American men of Somali background secretly left their homes in Minneapolis to return to Somalia and fight alongside a militant group called al-Shabab, with links to al-Qaeda.

They wanted to resist an US-backed invasion of their homeland by neighboring Ethiopia. Among them was Shirwa Ahmed who became the first known American suicide bomber.

Al-Shabab was on Washington's list of terror organisations, so all the young men who went to fight in Somalia were classified as terrorists.

The impact on the Somali community in Minneapolis was devastating and they are still feeling the repercussions.

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26 Comments / User Reviews

    Fecioru Florin
  1. Fecioru Florin

    Nationalism, religion, low education and militarian politics = awesome

  2. Rommel Kolianeh
  3. Rommel Kolianeh

    These hard line people will never fit into American or European cultures. As soon as they get over here they will join gangs and the poor house for many many years to come. I think they should stay in their own countries and change it there than here into a 4th rate continent.

  4. Jeremy Hughes
  5. Jeremy Hughes

    You can't "monitor" it better. Any way they find to monitor them, there are ways around it... these people are psychopaths and the ROOT issues need to be tended to. IE, knowledge needs to be spread, the sooner we convert their children to science, the sooner their parents will die and these holy wars will be over : )

    Think about it, how did we get to the state of CHristianity we are in today? Hmmm, well churches indoctrinated CHILDREN so that they would be lifelong subjects. Let's do the same, except with science as their background, they will be intelligent enough to hopefully help solve problems and be a boon rather than a bane.

    I am literally a perfect example of this process too btw, my parents did EVERYTHING they could to make sure I ended up as a traveling pastor, they expected me to go to third world countries and spread the word of God. At age 16 I was fully integrated into 2 different churces, both different sects of religion that somehow led right into eachother (I'm referring to the Seventh Day Adventist church and their child-parent relationship with Israel) I was learning the ropes to eventually end up in Israel and then go onto other countries. I would have certainly been jumped straight into military conflict, as I was sold on this idea of Zion and the Palestinians were in direct violation of our laws.

    What saved me? College. I decided to go to school for a year or two before attempting the monstrous task assigned to me and my family via our church and what I now call "brainwashing"

    I had a professor that was actually a member of a church I had attended and his biology class made me question a lot of things. Why was this man 2 faced, and telling me one thing in church, then another thing in class and constantly having me stay after to explain how the "biological processes" he just explained were not as the textbook described, but the work of the lord. WIth a straight face none the less. IT made me do a "wait a minute..." and eventually I formed a series of questions, (Things like, who created God then, if God created Satan knowing full well what would happen, then isn't God the real sinner?) that got me banned from church and eventually they even sent my professor to my house to try to bring me back to my senses. I lost it, I yelled quite a bit, I brought up logical arguments that could not be defeated by rhetorical ideas, and eventually my Professor basically told me that some people need religion as a purpose to life, and that I need to decide for myself if it is real or not. I sad something along the lines of "so it's not real then" and he shrugged and said "Some people don't see the purpose of living if there is no higher power" and I just kinda sighed, said goodbye to all of my past, and dug in deep at school.

    Never looked back.

    Was ostracized by my family, now 12 years later, they now allow me to come visit anytime and treat me like a member of the family again. I have now loosened them to the idea of Godless living, as they can clearly see how successful I have been since letting go of this fake religion (not monetary success btw, I've done well, but my success as a happy and fearless person) and last month I was actually able to leave my mother (who is CRAZY religious btw) a copy of "The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins. She is actually reading it. I told her if she wants to know the secret to life and how I'm able to live the way I want to, not how I'm told, then she needs to read it. The look on her face when she saw the book, priceless... Fear mixed with curiosity. See... the thing with all the religious people, is that they do honestly believe it, but it's a VERY thin venier, SHOW THEM THE WAY, and they will become interested, make the comments "life has been better since I shed those lies" and ya, they will follow suit. THey want peace and happiness as much as the next guy, they just need to realize that they were lied to, and that it's ok to be mad and then move on.

    THat's my 2 cents.

  6. borsuk88
  7. borsuk88

    " the sooner we convert their children to science, the sooner their parents will die and these holy wars will be over : )"
    I`ve heard the same rhetorics before. From communists in my old country. Same things were said in Nazi Germany, too. You would need to isolate these children from their parents first, to minimize their impact. I suggest special camps, was proven the most effective.
    Education may have effect on the intelligent, the mases need something to replace the faith with. Best a thing equally illogical - like consumerism and celebrity cult in the west. It took about 3 generations to brainwash people in Europe and US and force religion out - yet you want to change these cavemen in one, and just with reason and science. Good luck.

  8. terrasodium
  9. terrasodium

    The word technocracy comes to mind, science's ultimate dictatorship and the newest "enlightenment" tool of control , and when combined with atheism(the religion of non-religion) has the potential to excuse any action against any living thing . Hopefully your logic studies taught you how think critically about the world ,and not just how to win a sophist argument that you have an emotional attachment to.

  10. wald0
  11. wald0

    Religion forced out of the US?!? You have no idea what you are talking about, unfortunately its alive and well in the US.

  12. wald0
  13. wald0

    What beautiful, vibrant children- they made me happy. Nothing else to really add about this sad state of affairs- religion, nationalism, cultural indoctrination... sometimes mankind seems a lost cause, me included.

  14. wald0
  15. wald0

    You guys never quit do you, by all means- dont ever. The truth is people meet atheist everyday and they realize they are caring, intelligent, moral people just as often as any religious person is. You guys are having the same effect as propaganda flicks like Reefer Madness or people teling their kids if they masterbate they will go blind, when it doesn't happen little johnny is going to wonder what else you lied about.

  16. PaulGloor
  17. PaulGloor

    This kind of documentary is depressing, as much for its content as for the discussions that follow. Clearly, religion, or rather a particular interpretation of it, is a major issue here and it lights the fires under our seats no matter what our particular religious orientation might be.

  18. terrasodium
  19. terrasodium

    “There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of overwhelming grief...and unspeakable love.

    Washington Irving

  20. Harry Nutzack
  21. Harry Nutzack

    why are you all so hung up on the religious angle? the recruitment of these 20 young men was made by appealing to their nationalism, not islam. the mosque was merely a place where they met their recruiter. young men being conned into returning to an ancestral homeland to participate in a civil war is hardly unique to this case. collecting donations to support those efforts at a house of worship is hardly unique to either this case, or the followers of islam. many an IRA fundraiser trolled US catholic services during the dark days of the troubles. many a protestant church holds fundraisers for israel, and the "defense of the holy land". during the american civil war, many a pulpit was used "encourage" parishoners to take up arms on either side. synagogues have for 2/3 of a century been the principle fundraising sites for various land buying schemes and "registered charities" that support their expansionism financially. the JDL recruits at them (yes, they do have their "bully boys" still ), such violent groups as kahani hai recruited at them as well. these young men were recruited by sharpies (in support of the politically ambitious "back home")who supply cannon fodder, not "radicalizing imams". the young men arent engaging in "holy war", they are members of a violent political struggle over who will take power in a country with a fallen government. the sooner you actually face that reality is the sooner you will be able to formulate a method of preventing it.

  22. smjpl
  23. smjpl

    To answer that on my part, I haven't gotten to watch the doc yet. I read the comments first and decide if the doc is worth watching. Got hung up on some comments and then it was too late to watch. I would tend to agree with you from my first impressions of other comments though. I don't like to hear things like "who is monitoring these mosques". All you can do is have a free and open (information) society and let the people decide what is right and wrong.

  24. Jeremy Hughes
  25. Jeremy Hughes

    Nationalism, at least for me, is planted in religious roots, remember all the stories of God commanding his people to kill other's for their nation, or people. I mean, it can be non-religious, but in my personal experience, nothing drives nationalism like religion. Also, I imagine if you spoke to these people, their belief system would have been a deciding factor in their involvement. I could be completely wrong, I am assuming a bit here.

  26. PaulGloor
  27. PaulGloor

    But who do you support or resist in this case where the Al-Shebab, although they are the most successful, are imposing religious interpretations and fear mongering, not to mention aleged ties to Al-Qaeda and the current powers are keeping people impoverished. Politics isn't my strongest subject.

  28. Harry Nutzack
  29. Harry Nutzack

    as an uninvolved foreigner, i tend to view it as "none of my da**ed business!". it's a wholly internal political struggle for power in a far flung country on another continent. ties to al quaeda don't really phase me much, as my country's CIA has historical ties to them as well. i'm not championing the young mens decision to go fight the war, but it honestly is of NO national security importance to this country, or government. we don't need to support or resist anybody in that struggle. historical record shows our "help" is often a greater hindrance than our complete non-involvement would be. the only "solution" that will be workable in the long run is the one the citizenry of that nation makes for themselves. one of the hugest problems in africa is the influence of the western powers. the strange bedfellows western governments embraced during the cold war were no different than any of the other "fiends" we condemn, except that they were "our fiends". let them find their own way, and china will be happy to engage them financially once hostilities cease.

  30. Harry Nutzack
  31. Harry Nutzack

    the myth of "american exceptionalism" has no religious root. it is a purely nationalistic song and dance. its root is patriotic fervor. it's tribalistic rather than sectarian. it does have similar separatist rhetoric to religion, but the "them" isnt folks who praise sky-daddy improperly, but folks who live "on the wrong side of the tracks". even the teaser for the doc says the motivation was fighting the ethiopian invasion. of course religion has to have a little to do with it (if they were quakers or adventists they would be forbidden from participating, as an example), but somalia is majority muslim. the civil war isnt religious, it's a power struggle. it's the same as happened in a-stan post soviet withdrawal. a power vacuum loomed, and the ambitious fight for control. unsophisticated folks tend to trust religion more than politics, so in unsophisticated populations a party with religious trappings will tend to better engage the hearts and minds of the populace. in WW2, we fought germans, italians, and japanese, not lutherans, catholics, and shintoists. watch the propaganda flicks from the time. the themes are entirely nationalist/patriotic, not sectarian. even the dehumanizing characterizations of japanese culture confine themselves to political/social critique, and leave the whole religious angle lie, aside from the occasional mentioning of demi-god status of hirohito, but that was only used to illustrate the "skewed alien japanese culture". for centuries nationalism alone drove catholic countries to make war on one another, all over europe. sure, there's gonna be some "god/allah/yahweh is cool with it, so dont worry about damnation" in the sales pitch, but ALL cultures do that to convince cannon fodder that there's no eternal penalty for joining up.

  32. Jeremy Hughes
  33. Jeremy Hughes

    agreed and dually noted

    Axe my theory, nutz is on fire tonight : )

  34. southab403
  35. southab403

    I think that there is a need for an explanation of where we fit into our society and what the expectations of that society are from a very young age. Kids by the age of 2 can tell who the ‘mommies’ and ‘daddies’ are (sexual identification).

    Every socially integrated higher mammal has the same learning curve and has learned to understand mortality. (re: grieving in many mammalian species, funeral rites, visiting bone yards, etc.)

    Perhaps us humans felt we deserved more of a prospect than just becoming ‘flesh to dust’. Perhaps our ability to look into the future and the feeling of our self importance led us to contrive an utopian resting place. Could that be why there is an “anthropological need for religion in human society and its development”?

    “WE”, the hoity, holy, are going to “Eden”, but you the plebeians can only go there if you follow our strict guidelines and rules (so we can control the behavior of the tribe through shame and guilt).

  36. PaulGloor
  37. PaulGloor

    Even though it has been stricken from the record, I feel the need to apologize to you, Vlatco and the rest of the community for my spiraling stupidity. After having fully digested my thoughts I realized how wrong I was in my comments.
    Once again, sorry everyone. At the very least I demonstrated the function and need for peer review :P

  38. terrasodium
  39. terrasodium

    No need to apologize Paul, as for any spiraling, lets all congratulate ourselves for being human,I don't contend any of the posters to be more or less then that.

  40. PaulGloor
  41. PaulGloor

    left a terrible taste in my mouth though. Felt better to own up to it and move on.

  42. Ian Fletcher
  43. Ian Fletcher

    anyone know how/why there was a white guy fighting with al-shabab?

  44. MitchM
  45. MitchM

    It all comes down to oil. The US fears if Somalia were to become a radical Islamist state, they may be able to disrupt oil as well as other shipping coming and going through the Suez canal. A significant percent of oil coming through the Strait of Hormuz would travel to Europe and the eastern US through the Gulf of Aden and on to the Suez canal. The worst case would be for both Yemen and Somalia to become a threat to international shipping. That is why the US has put its nose into their business. If Al Qaeda wasn't involved, the US would have a lot less incentive to be involved.

  46. ropativ
  47. ropativ

    Money is the root of all evil, after all.

    Only a few rich merchants influencing the US foreign policy makers at the very top, can cause so much misery and havoc in the lives of millions.

  48. MickeySpillane
  49. MickeySpillane

    Somali, heal thyself! Not one word of thanks, appreciation, payback, just the hispanic version of self entitlement. Every immigrant has to make the choice of whether or not to leave their country and become an American. Usually they make in before they immigrate. Unless you come to the realization that although you sympathize whole heartedly with your country of origin, you are now an American, you are dishonest and dangerous. A couple of dozen men from the same mosque participate in murder and armed conflict in another country and instead of shame they "withdraw"? The men, according to the film, meet and BS all day, guess there's plenty of welfare. They never had it so good and they get to leave whenever they want. No violins necessary. They need, especially the "university" kids, a lesson on the value of the citizenship and free education they so casually slight.

  50. Keithstone00
  51. Keithstone00

    He is Abu Mansoor Al-Amriki he is from Alabama. He has a white Baptist mother and a Muslim father. AL-shabab puts him in videos to recruit Americans to join them.

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