Addressing the Council on Foreign Relations on Feb. 23, Mueller said
Ahmed, who arrived in Minneapolis with his family more than a decade ago,
was one of several suicide bombers in the attack on Somalia. The FBI
director said Ahmed was recruited in the United States and ordered to
return to Somalia for his mission.
"The prospect of young men, indoctrinated and radicalized within their
own communities and induced to travel to Somalia to take up arms — and to
kill themselves and perhaps many others — is a perversion of the immigrant
story," Mueller said.
Officials have expressed concern over the susceptibility of the Somali
emigrant community to recruitment by Al Qaida. Since 2006, they said, dozens
of Somali-Americans have left their homes in Minneapolis to join Al
Qaida-aligned groups in Somalia.
"It raises the question of whether these young men will one day come
home, and, if so, what might they undertake here," Mueller told the meeting
in Minneapolis. "A crisis in the Horn of Africa may well have a ripple
effect in Minneapolis."
Officials said Ahmed and other Somalis were recruited by the Shabab
militia in Somalia. They said Shabab was receiving instructions and finances
from Al Qaida in the Islamic revolt against the pro-Western exiled
"We must also determine if threats around the world translate to
potential threats here at home," Mueller said. "If there is a suicide
bombing in Somalia, are we at greater risk? Do we understand the full extent
of that threat?"
Mueller said the United States faces a threat from Al Qaida as well as
what he termed "homegrown terrorists." He said the threat stems anywhere
from Britain and the United States to North Africa and Yemen.
"We are increasingly concerned with pockets of people around the world
that identify with Al Qaida and its ideology," Mueller said. "Some may have
little or no actual contact with Al Qaida. Yet fringe organizations can
quickly gain broader aspirations and appeal. And should they connect with
the core of Al Qaida, from training to the planning and execution of
attacks, the game becomes radically different."
Islamic activists financed by Saudi Arabia said the FBI has recruited
agents to monitor activity in mosques throughout the United States. The
activists said the FBI has also been pressuring Muslims to report suspicious
activity in their communities.
"Federal law enforcement cannot establish trust with American Muslim
communities through meetings and town hall forums, while at the same time
sending paid informants who instigate violent rhetoric in mosques," the
Muslim Public Affairs Council said. "This mere act stigmatizes American
mosques and casts a shadow of doubt and distrust between American Muslims
and their neighbors. It has also led many mosques and community groups to
reconsider their relationship with the FBI, including most recently the
Islamic Shura Council of Southern California."