As ISIS-inspired violence in America begins to take center stage in the national debate about immigration, the public is learning more about investigations that lead to the arrests of would-be jihadists who are discovered before they carry out their plans.

Minnesota has become the center of Somali immigration in the United States and according to a report by the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security, the state accounts for 26 percent of the cases where a person has left or tried to leave the country to join ISIS.

California and New York are the second and third states with the most ISIS recruits, but their cases combined do not equal the number of Minnesotans who are actively seeking to conduct jihad.

Minnesota has the heaviest concentration of Somali immigrants in the U.S. with an estimated number of 25,000, so it is not surprising that an investigation dating back to 2014 yielded the arrests of nine Somali men who were arrested for attempting to go to Syria to join ISIS.

According to the Associated Press, “The men have been described as friends in Minnesota’s Somali community who recruited and inspired each other to join the Islamic State. Some of them communicated with Islamic State members overseas, some took steps to get fake passports, and some played paintball to prepare for combat.”

Five of the young men were arrested in Eagan, Minnesota April when they were prevented from leaving the U.S. and three more have pleaded guilty. Another reportedly fled before he was apprehended and is living in Syria actively involved in recruiting more ISIS members from Minnesota.

On Wednesday, a tenth man, Abdirizak Warsame, 20, was arrested and charged with providing material support to ISIS by supplying money for passports and facilitating communication between recruits and ISIS operatives in Syria for the purpose of arranging travel and participation in terror activities.

The travel was planned to go through Mexico in order to enter Syria.

Warsame was working as a security guard when he was arrested and is being held without bail pending a hearing next week.

Eagan is part of the southern-most part of the Minneapolis-St. Paul area and was originally an Irish farming community known in the past as “The Onion Capital of the United States.”

 

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