FBI Director Robert S. Mueller says that Shirwa Ahmed, the Minnesota Somali man who blew himself up in Somalia last year, was indoctrinated in the U.S. In response, a local mosque has invited Mueller to visit.
The New York Times reported Mueller's comments yesterday:
"It appears that this individual was radicalized in his hometown in Minnesota," Mr. Mueller said, speaking at a meeting of the Council on Foreign Relations. Minneapolis claims the country's largest Somali population.
Mr. Ahmed was driving a vehicle laden with explosives that blew up in northern Somalia in an attack that killed as many as 30 people, according to news reports. His body was returned to the United States with the help of the F.B.I.
The continued spotlight on Minnesota Somalis and the purported link to terrorist groups in Somalia has been frustrating for Abubakar As-Saddique Islamic Center, the Twin Cities largest mosque. Some Somalis have said that the mosque had something to do with the disappearance of young Somali men from the area. The mosque has repeatedly denied that it had anything to do with it.
Today, the mosque invited Mueller to come visit, according to the Associated Press.
The Star Tribune today reported the response of Mahir Sherif, a San Diego attorney who has been the mosque's consultant during the media attention. Here's what he told the Strib about Mueller's comments:
Attorney Mahir Sherif, a consultant to the mosque, said in a telephone interview late Monday that Mueller "doesn't really know what's happened" and that he's "surprised that he would make such a comment."
The mosque is the largest in Minneapolis, Sherif said, drawing 10,000 to 15,000 people for the last fall's celebration marking the end of Ramadan.
"It's just frustrating to see people at high levels make such statements," he said. "It angers me they can just say this. This is affecting a lot of people. The mosque and Somalis have received a lot of hate messages because of this."