Page 2 of 2 Previous
“A lot of people in the community see it for what it is,” said the FBI’s Loven. “Unfortunately, there are a few young men with whom the message resonates. They are the ones who are going to be susceptible to travel to Somalia.”
The video is both sentimental and violent. Video of young men in shemaghs marching crisply in uniforms is interspersed with shots of the University of Minnesota campus and a walking tour through the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. There are graphics featuring a Roosevelt High School diploma and pictures of dead children lying bloody on the ground.
The three featured Minnesotans are Dahir Gure, Mohammad Hassan and Troy Kastigar, who all died in 2009. In the video, Kastigar, a 28-year-old convert who was known as Abdirahman, is the most animated.
With a front tooth missing, Kastigar speaks enthusiastically in English to potential recruits.
“This is the best place to be, honestly,” he says. “I can only tell you that you have the best of dreams, you eat the best of food, and you are with the best of brothers and sisters who came here for the sake of Allah. If you guys only knew how much fun we have over here. This is the real Disneyland. You need to come here and join us.”
Later, his body is videotaped as a colleague raps in English off-screen: “The life of this world is temporary, but the home here after everlasting.”
The video surfaced amid reports that Al-Shabab itself was engulfed in internal dissension and may reflect a belief from its leadership that it needed to rebrand itself.
“Most Somalis have distanced themselves from Al-Shabab once they started to blow themselves up,” said Bob Fletcher, a former Ramsey County sheriff who now teaches courses on Al-Shabab and the local Somali community. “They need to repackage in order to continue.”
Staff writers Allie Shah and Richard Meryhew contributed to this report.
Mark Brunswick • 612-673-4434