In the past 48 hours, two men from Minnesota have been reported killed while fighting for the terrorist group ISIS in Syria. Both died in a battle with the Free Syrian Army.
Douglas McCain, who grew up in the suburb of New Hope, was first reported dead by NBC News. McCain converted to Islam in 2004, and was friends since high school with Troy Kastigar, a fellow convert who later died fighting for the terrorist organization al-Shabaab in Somalia. Before his death, Kastigar recorded a special Minnesota-themed promotional video for al-Shabaab, encouraging Minnesotans to join jihad.
The second Minnesotan’s identity was disclosed today as Abdirahmaan Muhumed, a 29-year-old Somali-American father of nine from Minneapolis. Muhumud was profiled by Minnesota Public Radio in June, when he was already known to be fighting for ISIS in Syria.
Friends said Muhumed had family problems, separations from at least three wives. His shift to radical ideology fits the similar profile of Zakaria Maruf and Farah Mohamed Beledi, two men from Minnesota who were in their late 20s when they left and who both had criminal records and struggled to succeed in the United States.
Maruf and Beledi both had joined al-Shabaab and died in Somalia, with Beledi becoming the second Minnesotan suicide bomber in the Horn of Africa country.
Abdirizak Bihi, a local Somali-American community leader, claims that ISIS has recently begun trying to recruit women to join their cause as well.
“They are brainwashing them to marry them off to jihadists,” he said. “They call them to help out as nurses, help out the wounded — but the real catch is they will be sexually exploited.”
In Why Are There Jihadists in Minnesota?, which appeared in the November 2013 issue of The Tower Magazine, assistant editor Aiden Pink profiled Bihi, who is leading the fight against terror recruitment in Minnesota.
[Photo: Fox 9 News / YouTube]