The Al-Shabab in Somalia has already achieved notoriety for blocking relief efforts to famine stricken residents because the aid originates in the Christian West.
Today it received more publicity as Representative Peter King (R-NY), Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, began his hearings on Muslim radicalization by revealing that more than 40 Americans have been recruited to join the Islamic terror network in Somalia.
"Our investigation into this threat has led to alarming findings: Notably, that al-Shabab has successfully recruited and radicalized more than 40 Muslim-Americans and 20 Canadians, who have joined the terror group inside Somalia,” according to prepared remarks released by King's office before the hearing.
“Of those, at least 15 Americans and three Canadians are believed to have been killed fighting with al-Shabab, the Committee has learned. Not Al Qaeda, nor any of its other affiliates, have come close to drawing so many Muslim-Americans and Westerners to jihad.”
Behind these statements lies the ominous fact that these recruits are familiar with the United States and are willing to be martyrs, so they pose a threat to American security and have to be taken seriously.
According to ABC News, Osama bin Laden, prior to his death, was banking on al-Shabab precisely because of this factor. King concurred in an interview with the station that "These are Americans. These are people who have passports, they know the United States, they understand the United States, they know our weak points, they know where they can probe and thrust."
King has been criticized by liberals for focusing on Muslim terrorism when he should also be exploring other threats, such as the extreme right. The New York Times published an op-ed that drew attention to the fact that the Norwegian killer Anders Breivik had approvingly cited the King hearings as a source of inspiration (he also cited John Locke, Edmund Burke and Vladimir Putin, among others). King dismissed the New York Times editorial board as "vacuous ideologues".
King accused the Times of intellectual dishonesty for failing to realize that "there is no equivalency in the threat to our homeland from a deranged gunman and the international terror apparatus of al Qaeda and its affiliates, who are recruiting people in this country and have murdered thousands of Americans in their jihad attacks."