Another community leader, Abdirazak Bihi, said, “As recently as a week ago, a young girl was recruited along some others, and was sent to Syria and called her family from Syria a couple days ago.”
“Yes, people are recruiting, there are recruiters here,” Bihi said.
But Noor acknowledges that that doesn’t explain why so many are specifically being recruited from his city, and says that one reason so much focus is on the Twin Cities is because there is a large “newly-arrived” immigrant community, with many Somalis and Middle Easterners, and because the community isn’t shy about reaching out for help when someone does disappear, possibly into battles a world away.
Loven said that al-Shabab’s previous success in recruiting Minnesotans may have shown the area’s disaffected youths to be particularly susceptible to the jihadist propaganda. Earlier this week, for instance, al-Shabab released a recruitment video online that specifically called for those living in Minnesota to come join their fight.
“We’re taking this very seriously,” Loven said. “We don’t want to see our young people from Minnesota be attracted to this type of propaganda, end up in foreign battlefields, only to be injured, killed or what have you. That’s a concern not just for law enforcement, but for all people here in Minnesota.”
ABC News' Rym Momtaz, Alex Tucciarone and Lee Ferran contributed to this report.