Online Terror Chatter About Minnesota Picks Up

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Minneapolis, MN – KSTP-TV reports that chatter among terrorist groups have mentioned Minnesota more since the sentencing of nine Minnesotans for terror-related crimes in November.

According to KSTP, the internet site, “Inspire” which is operated by ISIS, posted a story recently that explicitly mentions New Jersey, New York and Minnesota attacks.  The posts also encouraged terror attacks against “enemies of Islam.”

The posts also specifically mention the attack on the Crossroads Mall in St. Cloud, for which ISIS claimed responsibility. The posts give a detailed description about this attack and encourages others in the United States and other western countries to commit attacks similar to it.

Minnesota based counter-terrorism expert Michael Rozin, told KSTP, “This is somewhat expected to see the self-proclaimed ISIS use these cowardly acts to inspire similar attacks anywhere in the U.S., including Minnesota.” Rozin is the president of Rozin Consulting, a security company that contracts with the United States Government and private companies to combat terrorism.

The local FBI office and the Minnesota U.S. Attorney’s office told KSTP that they were not surprised by the increased terrorist chatter.

As Alpha News reported in November, Minnesota Representative-elect Ilhan Omar (DFL-60B), the first Muslim-American woman elected to the state house, sent a letter to Judge Michael Davis asking for leniency for the nine Somali men who were convicted for trying to join ISIS. Omar stated in her letter that the men do not deserve to spend their lives behind prison walls and that a long sentencing would, in fact, destroy their lives as mistrust from the community around them would ultimately lead to unproductive lives. She advocated for a restorative and rehabilitative punishment, stating that “the desire to commit violence is not inherent to people — it is the consequence for alienation.”

Alpha News referenced a Wall Street Journal article from May 2016 reporting that Judge Davis tried the rehabilitative approach with these nine young men and after evaluations and tests, let one of the young men out. Abdullahi Yusuf was released from prison into a halfway home as long as he went through the deradicalization program. According to the Star Tribune, Yusuf violated the terms of his release and was promptly taken into custody.

The St. Paul Pioneer Press reported in November that the FBI has said about a dozen people have left Minnesota to join militant groups in Syria in recent years. Since 2007, more than 22 men have joined al-Shabab in Somalia.