Muslims invite FBI chief to Minneapolis mosque

  • Article by: PAUL WALSH and RICHARD MERYHEW , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 24, 2009 - 11:15 PM

A prayer and dinner are set for Wednesday at a Minneapolis mosque in response to concerns about whether young Somalis are leaving the Twin Cities area to joining militias in their homeland.

The Community Open House and Dinner is scheduled for 5 to 8 p.m. at the Abubakar As-Saddique Islamic Center, 2824 13th Av. S.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations-MN said the mosque "has received an increasing number of hate calls and emails since several Somali youth left the Twin Cities area, sparking rumors they were going to Somalia to join warring militias."

CAIR-MN spokeswoman Jessica Zikri said "neighbors of all faiths" are invited tonight to "see that Muslims share the same challenges and concerns as other Minnesotans."

Dinner guests, including commanders of local police precincts, will have an opportunity to observe an Islamic prayer at 6 p.m. before enjoying Middle Eastern and African foods. Speakers' presentations will be followed by a question-and-answer session.

Late today, CAIR also invited FBI director Robert Mueller to the open house.

The invitation was extended a day after Mueller told the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, D.C. that that a Somali-American man from Minnesota who was one of several suicide bombers in a terrorist attack in Somalia had apparently been indoctrinated into his extremist beliefs while living in Minneapolis.

Shirwa Ahmed, the first known suicide bomber with U.S. citizenship, immigrated with his family to the Minneapolis area in the mid-1990s, but returned to Somalia after he was recruited by a miltant group, Mueller said.

The FBI director did not mention the Abubakar As-Saddique Islamic Center, the mosque that some of the young men, including Ahmed, attended. Mosque officials have repeatedly said that the mosque had nothing to do with the men’s disappearances.

E.K. Wilson, a special agent for the FBI in Minneapolis, said late Tuesday that Mueller’s schedule would not permit him to attend on such short notice.

But, he added, “The FBI looks forward to furthering and expanding our relationship with the Somali-American community through our outreach efforts.”

 

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482

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