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Al-Shabaab Deemed a Threat to U.S. Homeland

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By William Tucker

The House Committee on Homeland Security issued a majority report yesterday stating that the Somali guerilla group al-Shabaab presented a credible threat to the U.S. homeland. Justification for the claim stems from the finding that over 40 naturalized U.S. citizens had returned to their native Somalia to fight on behalf of al-Shabaab, three of which became suicide bombers. The report makes clear several other findings, but it appears as if the concern of al-Shabaab is two-fold. First, and most apparent, is the growing radicalization of Somalis in the U.S., and two, the possibility that these individuals may return to the U.S. and attack the homeland with their newly acquired skills. The minority view from the committee was in stark contrast to the majority report. The minority ranking member claimed that al-Shabaab was not a threat to the U.S. homeland because they had never attacked the homeland before.

The majority report, Al Shabaab: Recruitment and Radicalization within the Muslim American Community and the Threat to the Homeland, contained conclusions that terrorism experts have stated over the last few years. Although the findings are a good step towards understanding al-Shabaab it didn’t address the issue of radicalization, other than stating it was occurring, nor did it address the FBI’s admitted intelligence gaps within the domestic Somali and Yemeni communities. If anything is to come from the work of the Homeland Security committee it must focus on radicalization, not solely because it could result in terrorism, but because radicalization is problematic enough.

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