Mosque leader criticizes hearing on terrorist link

  • Article by: Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 12, 2009 - 11:11 PM

A leader of a Minneapolis mosque on Thursday criticized testimony at a U.S. Senate hearing that indirectly linked it to a terrorist group's recruitment of young Somali men from the city.

Farhan Hurre, director of the Abubkar As-Saddique Islamic Center in south Minneapolis, rebuffed what he called "finger-pointing and false allegations" at Wednesday's hearing of the Homeland Security Committee.

At the hearing, Osman Ahmen, a representative of the local Somali community, said his nephew, one of about 20 young men in the Twin Cities who disappeared, appears to have made contact with a "minority group" at the mosque that promotes extremist ideologies.

In an e-mail sent Thursday, Hurre replied: "We were hoping, as all the Somali community in Minnesota, that this hearing would give some answers to the tragic issue of the Somali missing men. We were disappointed with some of the testimonies presented in the hearing in which some finger-pointing and false allegations were reiterated."

He noted that mosque officials weren't asked by the Senate committee members to testify, adding, "if it were about Abubakar Center, the committee would have called us to Washington to testify."

Federal counter-terrorism officials at the hearing did not specifically mention the mosque, but said Minneapolis has become the focus of an FBI probe into the recruitment of young Somali men by AlShabab, an Al-Qaida offshoot.

BOB VON STERNBERG

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