Saving Little Mogadishu
When East Africa’s most feared terrorist group starts recruiting in Minneapolis, Somali-Americans spring into action to save their youth—and the community’s reputation.
Nairobi, Kenya, September 21, 2013—Gunmen from Al-Shabaab, an Islamist group born in Somalia in 2006 and now linked to Al-Qaeda, attack the Westgate shopping mall and kill at least sixty-seven people. Confusion reigns in cyberspace, as some speak of dozens of attackers. In reality, there are only four. A Twitter message claims that two of the assailants might have been raised in Minnesota, home to some 120,000 Somalis, the largest such community in the western world, ahead of cities like Toronto, London, Stockholm and Copenhagen. The rumor on Twitter is enough to magnetize the media. In a snap, cameras surround Cedar-Riverside, the Minneapolis neighborhood also known as "Little Mogadishu,” after the Somali capital. The tweet, however, was wrong—one of the gunmen had spent several years in Norway but there is no confirmation about any attacker originating from the Twin Cities. The diaspora’s leaders condemn the violence, but not before a new harsh light has b…
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