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Sometimes it seems that Minnesota is ground zero in the war against terrorism. The problem is that we’re on the wrong side. This week we learned that two men identified as Minnesotans had died fighting for the Islamic State in Syria and now is such a time. Reporting from ground zero, we pause to ask what is happening here?


One of the two — Abdiraaman Muhumed — was a Somali Muslim. He is one of several such “Minnesotans” to have departed Minnesota to fight with Islamic terrorists. The other reported to have died — the inauspiciously named Douglas McAuthur McCain — was a former Minnesota resident by way of Chicago and a Muslim convert. He was a friend of another such Muslim convert — Troy Kastigar. McCain and Kastigar were classmates at Robbinsdale high schools. Their path to Islam is not clear, but it undoubtedly originated in Minnesota, from which they joined several other “Minnesotans” who following a similar path to jihad. McCain reportedly moved in to live Kastigar in 2000-2001. One infers that McCain followed Kastigar’s path, Kastigar enlisting in al Shabab and McCain in IS. Among the common denominators were their friendship in Minneapolis, their conversion to Islam and their pursuit of jihad.


According to the Star Tribune, they both converted to Islam in early adulthood. The Star Tribune also reports without explanation that Kastigar “went by the nickname Abdirahman.” Before he blew himself up for jihad, Kastigar appeared in the al Shabab recruiting video featuring jihadists from Minnesota. The New York Times circles around McCain and gets approximately nowhere.Scissors-32x32.png

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