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Continued: Minnesota Somalis united against Al-Shabab

“Most importantly,” he wrote, “far fewer Somalis, both in country and in the large Somali Diaspora, actively support the group.”

But some experts also believe that a weakened Al-Shabab is a more dangerous Al-Shabab.

“Were the group to weaken and fragment,” Menkhaus wrote, “it would be more likely to consider high-risk terrorism abroad.”

When word spread across the globe that two of the gunmen at the Kenyan mall may have been Minnesotans, it renewed concerns that a homegrown terrorist might someday return and carry out an attack on U.S. soil. As of Saturday, officials had not confirmed the identities of the attackers.

“This is part of any terrorist group’s struggle for survival,” said Bruce Hoffman, a terrorism expert from Georgetown University. “They are not in business to be put out of business.

“This is the oxygen they breathe. Are they desperate? Maybe, yeah. But they pulled it off.”

In Minnesota, that comes as little surprise.

Said Adam: “People are very clear now that this is a very dangerous ideology that must be forcefully challenged.”

 

richm@startribune.com • 612-673-4425

ashah@startribune.com • 612-673-4488

 

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