The Problems With Somali Immigrants: Asylum Fraud, Juvenile Crime, Honor Crimes, Illegal Money Transfers and Islamism
June 15, 2009
The Problems With Somali Immigrants: Asylum Fraud, Juvenile Crime, Honor Crimes, Illegal Money Transfers And Islamism
By EMERSON VERMAAT
June 16, 2009 - San Francisco, CA - PipeLineNews.org - Sub-Saharan African and Somali crime networks and youth gangs play a destructive role in a number of European countries, especially in Greece, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Scandinavia and Britain. Somali immigrants are supported by their clans. Somali crime networks are specialized in migrant trafficking, identity fraud, drugs, weapons smuggling, gun-running, car crime and "Hawala" money transfers to terrorists and criminals.
This money is being transferred to Somalia from the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Greece, Italy, Britain and the USA. In February 2008, six Somalis were arrested in Sweden and Norway on suspicion of funding terrorism with cash sent to Al-Qaeda terrorists in Somalia. 1For quite a number of years, the Hawala system and the Somali Al-Barakaat bank have been instrumental in operations run by Somali criminals or Al-Qaeda linked terrorists inside or outside Somalia. 2
Since the early 1990s Britain has seen a rapid influx of Somali immigrants. There are now about 250,000 Somalis in the United Kingdom. Most of them entered the country as asylum seekers. The so-called "gangsta-rap culture" is highly popular among Somali boys, often young macho criminals. Somali and other African crime gangs have terrified local communities. In Toxteth, Liverpool, for example, a hard core of about 30 Somali youths are active in car crime and drug dealing. 3 The situation is much worse in London with its large Somali immigrant community. A senior police officer told The Guardian, a British newspaper, "that more intervention was needed to stop large numbers of traumatized young men from civil wars in Africa forming street gangs." "He said the level of violence used by these groups was extreme, involving not only knives, but ceremonial swords, guns and hammers." 4 Faisal Wangita, son of former Ugandan dictator Idi Amin, joined a notorious London gang called the "Tottenham Somalis." In January 2006, Mr. Wangita and three Somali youth gang members, Ismael Mohamed, Liban Elmi and Hussain Ali Hussain were involved in murdering Mahir Osman, a Somali student. The killing was part of a typical African gang feud. Mr. Osman was stabbed more than 25 times and beaten with a hammer. The trial judge later condemned the murder as an example of the gang culture "all too prevalent" on the streets of Britain. 5 Somali youths have also been the victims of violent attacks by Asian (notably Pakistani) and Jamaican youths. It is a new form of racism that breaks down the traditional notion of white on black violence. 6
In the United States crime is a significant problem within the Somali community, particularly in Minneapolis where the number of Somali refugees and immigrants has risen substantially in recent years. Somali gang members are loitering the area and committing crimes (auto theft, shootings, robberies, assauls, etc.). 7 Thus, "little Mogadishus" are being created right in the middle of Minneapolis. Somali gang violence is now reportedly "out of control," especially in the South Minneapolis neighborhood. "Somali teenage boys are crazy and most of them have guns with them," reported Abdulkadir Mohamed-Ato in September 2008. "Random shootings have become the only way to settle a score. They have formed their own gang families and promise more violence to come." 8
Somali immigrants in the Netherlands: juvenile frequent offenders, welfare fraud, illegal money transfers and bad court decisions
According to a Dutch Ministry of Justice report, the so-called "Monitor Veelplegers" ("Frequent Offenders Monitor"), Somali youths are overrepresented in crime figures in the Netherlands (2007). Generally speaking, the number of registered "extremely active frequent offenders" has grown, especially the group of juvenile frequent offenders. "Adult and juvenile frequent offenders cause a great deal of trouble, especially in the larger cities: until recently, 20 percent of all reported and solved crimes per year were committed by offenders that regularly come into contact with the law," the Dutch Frequent Offenders Monitor says.
"The majority of frequent offenders is of foreign heritage," the report continues. In 2003, nearly 50 percent of the very active frequent offenders who came into contact with the law were immigrants. "Among both the juveniles and the extremely active adult frequent offenders, many frequent offenders have a non-Dutch background," the report says. The biggest overrepresentation can be found among Moroccan second-generation extremely active frequent offenders. "This group is represented 18 times more than is to be expected on the basis of their number among the overall population. First-generation Antillians/Arubans, Somalis and Moroccans are also featered rather frequently in the statistics." "More than half of these frequent offenders are from broken homes, their parents are three times more likely to receive benefits compared to the parents of the total juvenile population." 9
Drug addiction and drug dealing are quite common. "The most frequent-used groups of substances is opiates. In a striking number of cases, cocaine or crack is the secondary substance." 10
Somali criminal networks focus on migrant trafficking, identity fraud, asylum fraud and illegal money transfers. (We mentioned already that the Hawala system is very popular in Somalia, not just with Muslim militants but also with criminals.) Dutch prosecutors revealed in 2004 that at least 35 Somali controlled foundations were involved in illegal money transfers to Somalia – via Djibouti or the United Arab Emirates. In just three years (2000-2003), the illegal money transfers of these foundations amounted to 60 million euro, a very substantial amount indeed. Police completed house searches at nine locations where they discovered blank passports and stolen stolen calling cards. 11
For many years, Britain, with its huge Somali immigrant community, has been the destination country most favored by Somalis. Many Somali asylum seekers in the Netherlands wait till their application is granted and then apply for Dutch citizenship. (After five years of legal stay they can apply for a Dutch passport.) As soon as they have their Dutch passport they leave for the United Kingdom, sometimes without paying outstanding bills or meeting debts. 12 Other Somalis continued to claim Dutch welfare benefits even though they now had jobs in Britain. Although this is a clear example of fraud, a helpful and lenient Dutch court ruled that it was not right for the government to single out just Somalis for fraud investigation. This, the court said, amounted to "discrimination." 13
But sometimes Somali immigrants who flout Dutch law do get convicted. Thus, a Somali migrant trafficker was convicted in 2002. He had run a huge operation to smuggle Somali illegal immigrants into Europe. Dutch-Somalis traveled to Somalia giving their passports to so-called "look-a-likes" who then used these passports for travel to the Netherlands. The original passport holders claimed their passports had been lost. Somali minors are also frequently smuggled into the Netherlands. 14
The problem is that it is standard Dutch policy not to send so-called "lone minor asylum seekers" ("ama's" in Dutch) back to their country of origin. This has led to an unprecedented influx of undocumented African "ama's" or asylum seekers who falsely claim to be minors – not only in the Netherlands but also in Spain, Greece and Italy. Moreover, people who claim to be from Somalia are usually not sent back either.
Dutch Deputy Justice Minister Nebahat Albayrak (Labor Party) follows a policy of "categorical or group protection" for asylum seekers from Somalia. Albayrak is a second-generation Turkish immigrant who often gives the impression of being incapable or unwilling to check the flow of non-Western immigrants. Shortly after she became Deputy Justice Minister in 2007, she granted a general pardon for 27,500 asylum seekers whose applications had previously been rejected. While the previous coalition government had finally managed to successfully curb the illegal immigration flow, things rapidly changed under the current Christian-Democratic/Socialist coalition government.
In 2008, there was a 43 percent increase in the applications for asylum, the bulk of these applications having been made by Iraqis and Somalis. In the first half of 2008, 3070 Iraqis and 1849 Somalis applied for asylum. The total number of Somali applications for asylum in 2008 was 3842, almost a third of all asylum seekers in the Netherlands. The total number of Iraqis was 5027. Between January and April 2009, nearly 1000 Somalis applied for asylum. In most other European Union states the applications for asylum are going down. 15 (Although there is still a persistent problem of huge numbers of illegal immigrants from sub-Saharan and Northern Africa – especially in Southern Europe.)
Indeed, as a result of lenient immigration policies and "pardons" granted to illegal immigrants by the current Social Democratic Deputy Justice Minister whose party still espouses "multiculturalism," the Netherlands has once again become a magnet for asylum seekers and illegal immigrants from Somalia, the Horn of Africa and Iraq. Even a Somali pirate named Sayid who is currently on trial in the Netherlands now demands an education during his imprisonment and appeals to the Dutch governmet not to send him back to Somalia. "Life is very good here," Sayid is quoted as saying in "De Volkskrant," a liberal Dutch daily newspaper. Indeed, capture is now embraced as route to Europe. 16)
Once in the Netherlands, it becomes virtually impossible to deport undesirable elements (terrorists, frequent offenders, etc.) and criminal asylum seekers back to Somalia or Iraq. An Iraqi asylum seeker named Moayad A. killed his mother-in-law because he claimed she had committed adultery. The Iraqi asylum seeker was then convicted to eight years for committing an honor crime. He was, however, released prematurely – which is not uncommon in the Netherlands. The Dutch government then declared him an undesirable alien and intended to deport him on those grounds. But Moayat successfully appealed the decision in court. In March 2009, a court in northern city of Groningen ruled that the Iraqi asylum seeker could not be deported to Iraq because this was not "a safe country" for him. 17
It was in May 2003 that a Somali named S(h)alah Sheekh arrived at Amsterdam-Schiphol airport on a false passport and asked for asylum. His application for asylum was rejected by a Dutch court and the Dutch Minister for Immigration confirmed this decision. Sheekh, the Minister said, had made unreliable statements as to his birth and his age. He claimed to be 17 of age, an investigation has shown, however, that he was at least 20. This was deemed seriously to affect the credibility of his account (the so-called "refugee's story"). A lot of young African males who arrive in Europe falsely claim to be 16 or 17 years old as they know that minors are usually not deported. The Dutch government wanted to deport Sheekh to Northern Somalia which was considered relatively safe. But Sheekh appealed to the lenient European Court of Human Rights which then ruled in his favor saying that Sheekh's expulsion to Somalia would be a violation of the European Convention on Human Rights (January 2009). 18
Sheekh told the European Court that he did not wish to make any claims for pecuniary or non-pecuniary damage. Nor did he claim reimbursement of costs and expenses at the national level, since he had had the benefit of legal aid awarded to him by the Legal Aid Council ("Raad voor de Rechtsbijstand").
The court also embraced the concept of group or minority rights, the so-called categorical protection for asylum seekers. To assess asylum cases individually is wrong, the court said. An application for asylum should not be rejected in those cases where the applicant belongs to a (vulnerable) group. 19
The European Court's ruling is an enormous boost for the powerful immigration lobby in the Netherlands, Sweden and Britain. It will lead to a renewed influx of Somali asylum seekers in these European countries. Anyone from Somalia a who claims to be a member of a "vulnerable group" can now successfully challenge negative government decisions. The already overburdened immigration authorities are often incapable of checking the manifold "refugee-stories" in Somalia. Massive fraud is likely.
"Asylum shopping" and other forms of asylum fraud
Somali asylum seekers in particular have a reputation of being "asylum shoppers." Since 2003 asylum seekers in Europe are finger printed to prevent asylum shopping, the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad reported. "Asylum seekers are supposed to apply in the country of first arrival, but some people prefer to travel to another European country if they think they have a better chance of being accepted there, or after having been turned down in the first country." Somalis have recently taken to filing off their finger tips to escape registration, the paper said. 20
It was hard for Deputy Justice Minister Albayrak to avoid the conclusion: "There has been too much fraud." She then belatedly decided to terminate the categorical protection policy for asylum seekers from Somalia. They will now again be judged on an individual basis.
The rapid influx of asylum seekers is an extra and highly unwelcome burden to the Dutch tax payer and straining government finances even more. In September 2008, the Dutch government announced that its expenses on Somali asylum seekers will have risen with at least l12 million euros – this included extra cost for legal procedures and lawyers, should asylum seekers appeal negative decisions – and they do so invariably. 21 The government was recently forced to house a number of asylum seeekers in tents. Seeking asylum has developed into a real industry – resulting in huge profits for African criminal networks of migrant traffickers and asylum lawyers.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali was living safely and relatively comfortably in Nairobi, Kenia, before she applied for asylum in the Netherlands in 1922. After arriving in the Netherlands – via Germany – she invented some kind of credible refugee story claiming she had just left Somalia having a clear specific fear of persecution. This was the only way for her to convince the Dutch immigration authorities that she was a real refugee. Later, Ayaan's sister Haweya also successfully applied for asylum in the Netherlands. (Haweya, too, did not live in Somalia but in Nairobi.) A Dutchman from Refugee Aid ("Vluchtelingenwerk") "suggested that Haweya take the train to the German border, he would meet her there and drive her into the Netherlands by car to aivoid check points. That way Haweya could claim she had traveled directly to Holland. It meant she could ask for asylum in Holland instead of in Germany." 22 Both asylum applications were based on lies, and Ayaan Hirsi Ali knew it. Unfortunately, lying to immigration authorities in order to receive a positive response from them is not unique, especially among African asylum seekers.
Once in the asylum center, Hirsi Ali avoided most other Somalis. "The Somalis weren't integrating into Dutch society," Hirsi Ali later wrote in her autobiography "Infidel." Many "just chewed qat all night and sat around talking about how horrible Holland was." "They weren't working. They had nothing to do but hang around the asylum center and cadge meals." "Somali women always tried to weedle money out of me. I didn't give it to them. I felt embarassed and even let down by the way so many Somalis accepted welfare money and turned on the society that gave it to them." 23
After asylum has been granted, the refugee has the right to bring his spouse and children to the Netherlands. This, too, has resulted in massive fraud by Somali asylum seekers. They usually have or pretend to have lots of children. (In the past couples with up to 13 children have been admitted.) After DNA tests were introduced to verify blood ties, there was a sudden peak in the number of Somali foster children, NRC Handelsblad reported. One Somali family claimed to have no less than 41 foster children. 24 In January 2009 alone, Somali asylum seekers wanted 400 to 500 "foster children" to come over and join them. The already overburdened Dutch immigation authorities – the IND – are simply incapable of checking whether all these claims are really true, even asylum lawyers now admit. 25 Most likely they are not.
Moreover, polygamy is widely practiced in Somalia. How to stop a polygamous asylum seeking father from invoking the right of family reunification as soon as his asylum request has been granted? This, of course, is another unwelcome burden to the Dutch and European tax payer. Holland with its lenient benefit system is a paradise for economic refugees from Africa. Eberhard van der Laan, the Dutch government minister in charge of integrating all these non-Western immigrants into society, recently complained that the system is completely overburdened now. These people go back to their country of origin and then take some local bride back to Holland, van der Laan said. These women know nothing about Dutch culture, nor do they speak the Dutch language. "Continuing marriage-immigration is an unbearable burden, we can't cope with it anymore," he said. 26
In 2008, the number of immigrants who arrived in the Netherlands reached the staggering figure of 140,000, and 15,300 of them – 11 percent – were so-called "import brides" from Morocco, Turkey, Iraq, Afghanistan and, last but not least, Somalia – an all time high. In the past most import brides came from Turkey and Morocco but more recently it is the number of Somali, Afghani and Iraqi import brides which is rapidly rising. This is only possible because more and more Muslim immigrants massively abuse the Dutch immigration system. There are Muslim immigrants who succeeded in bringing in import brides nine times. Each time a new bride arrives, they divorce her, and then they go back to the country of origin to bring in a fresh import bride from a poor and undeveloped region. 27
Somali desert culture very oppressive to women
Once they have been granted their refugee status, Somali women sometimes go back to Somalia to have their daughters circumcised, even though they previously claimed it was too dangerous for them to travel to Somalia. These women and their daughters are usually readmitted to the Netherlands. More than 95 percent of the Somali women are circumcised. Somali culture is extremely violent. Honor crimes are quite common. In September 2008, a Somali immigrant in the Dutch city of Apeldoorn stabbed his Somali wife to death in the presence of his children. 28 It was a typical act of revenge or honor crime because the Somali woman was too independent minded – something just not done in Somali Muslim culture which is very oppressive to women.
Virtually all marriages are arranged marriages. It is the clan or the father who decides who may marry whom. "I had run away when I was about thirteen years old because my father tried to marry me off to an old man," writes Waris Dirie, one of the few Somali women who dared to resist her father's will. "In Somalia men must pay a bride price for a virgin and this balding old man leaned on a walking stick and offered several camels for me. A woman doesn't have much choice in the matter." 29 Somali culture is a backward desert culture hostile to Western values and the emancipation of women:
"Men decide when a marriage is over and the woman can loose her children and be left to beg without any other way to support herself. A man can say 'I divorce you' to his wife, her family and his family. If the families cannot get him to reconsider, then the marriage is over." 30
Any Somali woman who breaks the backward and oppressive cultural and religious shackles is seen as a "prostitute" and a traitor to the clan. As soon as Ayaan Hirsi Ali began to "westernize" she felt herself the object of harrassment and ridicule: "Somali young men constantly approached me on the street as if they had some kind of right to me. They made obscene suggestions; to them I was obviously immoral, and therefore available." "I was acting white, who did I think I was." 31
Blaming Western "colonialism" and "racism" for one's own failures
Hirsi Ali noticed that many Somalis in the Netherlands were blaming European "colonialism" and "racism" for the mess they were in:
"I thought that was so clearly nonsense. We had torn ourselves apart, all on our own. It was the same sort of defensive, arrogant attitude that I had often seen among people from rural areas who emigrated to the city, whether Mogadishu or Nairobi. Here in Holland the claim was always that we were held back by racism. 32Many Somalis hate non-Muslims ("infidels"), Jews and Western culture in general. In the United States Somali taxi drivers refused to accept fares from whom they suspect of possibly transporting alcohol. Furthermore, Somali immigrants in the U.S. "have displayed a remarkable penchant for stirring up labor unreast amidst charges of religious discrimination," William Mayer and Beila Rabinowitz recently observed in "Pipelinenews.org" "In many cases American hospitality has been repaid by a refusal by the Somalis to integrate into the larger society that hosts them, bringing lawsuits and allying themselves with radical Islamists." 35
Somalis have no reason at all to feel superior to others. It is largely their own fault that their "country" is a complete mess. According to the latest UNHCR findings Somali women are massively raped, abductions are quite common, Al-Qaeda linked Islamists are waging war and creating havoc everywhere.
Terrorism and Islamism and the alliance between the jihadists and the pirates
Daniel Pipes defines "Islamism" as follows:
"Islamism is an ideology that demands man's complete adherence to the sacred law of Islam and rejects as much as possible outside influence, with some exceptions (such as access to military and medical technology). It is imbued with a deep antagonism towards non-Muslims and has a particular hostility towards the West. I amounts to an effort to turn Islam, a religion and civilization, into an ideology. It is an Islamic- flavored version of totalitarianism." 36
Somalia has been a hotbed of terrorism, warlords and extreme violence ever since the early 1990s when president Siad Barre was ousted and central authority collapsed. Somalia rapidly evolved into a "failed state." Since then Islamist movements have tried to take control. Al-Qaeda in particular developed a strong interest in Somalia. Bin Laden's terrorist network began to train local militants. A key link between the Somali militants and Osama bin Laden was Maulana Masood Azhar, a militant Muslim leader from Pakistan. Mohammed Atef, Al-Qaeda's deputy military commander, was also involved in this training program. Bin Laden was operating from Sudan at the time and Atef flew to Nairobi to train Somali militants. 37 Atef reached an agreement with Somali warlord Mohamed Farah Aideed that Al-Qaeda would assist him in defeating a U.S. led intervention force. In the battle of Mogadishu in October 1993, 18 American soldiers were killed and a Black Hawk Helicopter was downed. President Clinton then decided to withdraw U.S. forces. Bin Laden later said that "Arab mujahideen" who were in Afghanistan "participated with their brothers in Somalia against the American occupation troops and killed large numbers of them." "The American administration was aware of that. After a little resistance, the American troops left after achieving nothing." 38
Al-Qaeda is also deeply involved in the current fighting in Somalia. They back Muslim militants who seek to establish a kind of Taliban state there. After a pro-Al-Qaeda group called "The Islamic Courts Union" (ICU) had driven out the weak
Transitional Government, an Ethiopian military intervention ousted the ICU Islamists in December 2006. Jihadists from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sudan, Yemen, Lebanon (Hezbollah), Eritrea, Chechnya, Britain, the United States and Australia had reportedly joined the Somali Islamists. 39 On January 5, 2007, Ayman Al-Zawahiri, Al-Qaeda's second-in-command, declared Somalia "land of Islam" ("fard ain"), making expulsion of non-Islamic forces a jihad of defensive nature. 40 In subsequent battles with Islamists, Ethiopia lost hundreds of soldiers and by January 2009 , Ethiopian forces pulled out from key bases in Mogadishu.
It was in 2004 that Aden Hashi Farah Ayro, a former military chief of the Islamic Courts Union, established a new movement which he called "Al-Shabab" ("The Youth"). Ayro had attended an Afghan training camp in 2000 and 2001, but he was killed in a U.S. cruise missile attack on May 1, 2008. Al-Shabab is believed to be closely linked to Al-Qaeda. 41 Stig Jarle Hansen does not rule out that Al-Shabab will attempt attacks against Western interests in the region with the help of Al-Qaeda allies:
"The group threatened retaliation against the U.S. after it designated it as a terrorist group in February (2008) and again after Ayro's death. This is a feasible threat given that Al-Qaeda operatives can slip accross the Somali-Kenyan border with ease. The Kenyan press reported that three suspected Al-Qaeda operatives were briefly detained by police in northern Kenya on 31 May (2008) before being rescued by Somali gunmen who had crossed the border." 42
Al-Shabab closely cooperates with the infamous Somali pirates. "There is an agreement between the Shabab, pirates and local businessmen that ships transporting arms for the Shabab should not be attacked," says Bruno Schiemsky in the February 2009 issue of Jane's Intelligence Review, the leading British monthly on terrorism, crime and security. There is also an agreement on training. "The training progam began around July 2008, with the Shabab training the pirates in conventional combat techniques." 43 Al-Shabab openly applauded the activities of the Somali pirates saying "they are protecting the Somali coast against the enemies of Allah." 44 There have also been reports that some money from piracy ransoms has gone to Islamist militants. "The pirates are not just fishermen who have taken up a bit of piracy as a hobby," says Major General Julian Thompson, a former commander in the Royal Marines. 45
Said Ali Al-Shihri, a former Guantanamo detainee, is now the deputy leader of Al-Qaeda's Yemeni branch. He issued a message to the Somali pirates in April (2009) urging them "to step up their attacks on 'crusader' forces at sea." He then added, "The crusaders, the Jews and the traitorous rulers did not come to the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Aden except to wage a war against you in Somalia and abolish your newly established emirate, and by Allah, they shall be defeated. They shall bring a curse upon their people." 46
It is not coincidental that the Yemeni Al-Qaeda branch openly encourages Somali Islamists and pirates to attack "crusaders, traitorous rulers and Jews." With their local logistical knowledge the pirates support Yemeni and Somali terrorists by helping them to travel to their destination. Last March, a suicide bomber killed four South Korean tourists in Yemen. Yemeni security officials claimed that this teen-age suicide bomber had previously been trained by followers of Al-Shabab in Somalia. 47 This points to very close collaboration between Somali and Yemeni terrorist organizations.
Impact of the jihadists and the Islamists on Somali immigrant communities
Al-Shabab successfully recruited Somali immigrants in Western countries, particularly in the United States and Britain. In a recent essay in CTC Sentinel, David Shinn wrote:
"The FBI reported that as many as 20 young Somali-Americans may have left their homes in Minneapolis and St. Paul in Minnesota, the largest Somali diaspora in the United States, under suspicious circumstances. A few young Somalis were also recruited in Boston, San Diego, Seattle, Columbus, Ohio, Portland and Maine. It has been confirmed that several of them found their way to Al-Shabab in Somalia. Shirwa Ahmed, a naturalized U.S. citizen, blew himself up in Somalia in October 2008, killing dozens of Al-Shabab's opponents. Hassan Burhan and two Somali-American colleagues left Minneapolis in November and made their way to Kismayo, a fundamentalist stronghold." 48
Some of the 20 Somali-American men from the Minneapolis area who traveled to war-torn Somalia are believed to have trained and fought with Al-Shabab. "Some of the guys who were missing aren't missing anymore," an FBI source told Fox News. "Some of them got blown up and some of them came back, and some of them are still there." 49
Somalis in Minnesota have reportedly sent at least $ 75 million to East Africa. Certainly not all this money went to terrorists and warlords, but some money did fill their coffers. Abdi Samatar, an author of two books on Somali culture, claims that some people are sending money to Somali warlords. Collections in Minnesota for warlords in Somalia have fueled "the very violence that brought them here in the first place seeking refuge," says Samatar. 50
Currently on trial in the U.S. is Mohammed Abdullah Warsame, a naturalized Canadian citizen of Somali descent. According to the plea agreement, Warsame attended an Al-Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan in 2000, sent money to one of his former training camp commanders and met with Osoma bin Laden. Warsame traveled to Pakistan in March 2001 and provided information via email to several Al-Qaeda associaties throughout 2002 and 2003. 51
The United States is now facing a home-grown Islamic terror threat, but it is not just a serious security problem in the United States. Yasin Ali, a senior leader of the newly formed Somali terrorist alliance "Hizbul Islam," is a Swedish citizen who was released by the Swedish government last year, writes Bill Roggio in The Long War Journal. "In late February the Hizbul Islam joined forces with Al-Shabab in the battle with the African Union (AU) peace keepers that left nearly 50 dead and 300 wounded." 52 Mohammed, another Somali immigrant in Sweden, left the peaceful Swedish city of Gothenburg in 2007 to fight with Islamist forces in Somalia and was subsequently killed in a U.S. bombing raid. 53 Mohammed was a member of the so-called "Gothenbrug group." "These individuals are part of a steady trickle of volunteers traveling from Scandinavia to fight in Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia," Michael Jonsson and Christofer Berglund write in a recent and topical essay in "Jane's Intelligence Review." 54
"Somali Britons with jihad training pose terrorist risk," the London Times reported last May. "For Britain, the evidence of spreading Al-Qaeda training camps is particularly alarming because of the large Somali community in the UK." 55 In February, The Times quoted from a Channel 4 News investigation revealing "that a suicide bomber who grew up in Ealing is thought to have blown himself up in an attack in Somalia that killed more than 20 soldiers." 56 He is not the only Somali Briton who joined the Somali jihadists. "The numbers I hear from Britain to Somalia are 50, 60 or 70, but in reality we don't know," Peter Neumann, a British terrorism expert, told Channel 4. "You don't need big numbers for terrorism." Outside a London mosque last February, several Somalis were adamant that they were entitled to fight for their homeland. "If American troops can go from Arizona to Iraq then someone can leave this area and go to Somalia," one of them told The Times. 57
British security authorities are aware of the fact that Somali Britons travel to Somalia to be trained at terrorist training camps run by Al-Shabab or other jihadist organizations. They are even more worried about the possibility that battle-hardened and well trained fanatics some day return to the United Kingdom to stage terrorist attacks on British territory.
Two weeks after the deadly suicide bomb attacks in London on June 21, 2005, four radicalized British Muslims tried to stage copycat attacks in the same city. This time, however, the attacks on London's transport system failed because the homemade bombs did not go off. All of the perpetrators were first-generation immigrants from the Horn of Africa. (A fifth man named Mafo Kwaku Asiedu came from Ghana; he pulled out at the last moment dropping his rucksak bomb in a park in North London.)
Ring leader Mukhtar Said Ibrahim was born in Eritrea. Two others, Yassin Omar and Ramzi Mohammed, came from Somalia. The fourth bomber, Hussein Osman, came from Ethiopia but claimed on entry in the United Kingdom that he was from Somalia in order to increase his chances of being granted asylum. Once in London they got involved in petty crime. Said Ibrahim was a criminal gang member and sex offender who was jailed for violent muggings. It did not take long for the four young men to embrace the cause of radical Islam. They became entranced by the radical preacher Abu Hamza Al-Masri who openly admired Osama bin Laden. It was in 2003 that Said Ibrahim made a jihadist trip to Sudan. At the end of 2004 he traveled to Pakistan to be trained in bomb-making. An Al-Qaeda operative named Mohammed Al-Ghabra is said to have arranged Ibrahim's trip to Pakistan. Al-Ghabra still lives freely in the United Kingdom. The London Times called the copycat terrorists "benefit bombers who repaid help with hatred." "They came into this country as child refugees but grew up to plot mass murder." 58
Obviously, Somali immigrants in Europe, the United States, Canada and Australia are vulnerable to Islamist radicalization. But it is not necessary for them to actually join the jihad. A movement like Al-Shabab would probably not have been able to survive had it not received massive financial support from Islamist supporters abroad. 59
First-generation Muslim immigrants from conflict zones like Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan and extremists returning from these war zones or training camps increasingly pose a security threat, Western security experts assert. Both in the U.S. and Europe traumatized young men from civil wars in Africa formed and are still forming street gangs. What cannot be ignored is the fact is that we are not just importing normal refugees, the victims, that is, but also the perpetrators and extremists: polygamists, practitioners and supporters of female genital mutilation, jihadists, Islamists, war criminals, rapists, (former) child soldiers and other young male killers who are more familiar with kalashnikovs and knives than the alphabet. Many African and Afghan war criminals applied for asylum in Europe. One of them, a Rwandan named François Bazaramba, is currently on trial in Finland. These people should not be facilitated by a lenient asylum system.
There is the additional problem of Somali (clan) culture which is extremely violent and utterly opposed to the emancipation of women. It is, basically, a backward desert culture of male and clan superiority. Those who want to export this kind of primitive and violent culture and lifestyle to the West by simply refusing to integrate into Western society, must be discouraged strongly.
Another massive immigration flow from Somalia is, therefore, highly unwelcome. Once in the West, many Somalis will first and foremost be loyal to their clans and families and do everything they can to see to it that as many clan and family members as possible will join them. Ayaan Hirsi Ali was not suffering from persecution when she applied for asylum in the Netherlands. She was living in Kenia. So her asylum application was fraudulent – it was based on a lie. Yet, she encouraged her sister Haweya – who was equally living safely in Kenia – to join her. This case is by no means unique. U.S. lawmakers who now seek to ease family immigation should be aware of the massive abuse that is to be expected as a result of such a policy.
It is because of the perpetual migration machine that most Western societies are already saturated with African and Asian immigrants who are overrepresented in crime statistics or who espouse Islamist or jihadist causes. Alison Pargeter, a British terrorism expert from Cambridge University, claims that "many of those involved in terrorist-related activity have come from non-white ethnic backgrounds." 60 Angry Muslim ethnic minorities and juvenile frequent offenders are already causing very serious problems in the suburbs of Paris, London and Amsterdam. We do not need just more of the same. (By 2030, the group of "other non-Western immigrants" in Amsterdam, including Somalis, Iraqis and Afghans, will have risen in size from fourth to second in position.)
Host countries in the region – such as Kenia, Ethiopia or Eritrea – are probably a more preferable destination for Somali refugees than Europe or America – provided, of course, these African host countries are then assisted by the international community. (The fact that many Somalis look down on "subhuman" Kenians and "Christian" Ethiopians cannot be an excuse for leaving for Europe or America.) Moreover, remaining in their region of origin, would make it much easier for the Somali refugees to be repatriated once the current conflict is over. It was back in the 1990s that hundreds of thousands of Cambodian and Vietnamese refugees who had previously fled to neighboring countries, could be successfully repatriated by the UNHCR.
It is easy to criticize the Italian government for taking a tough stance on immigration – I have seen all these reports in the media – but I know from my own observations in Southern Europe that local authorities are simply overwhelmed by the unprecedented influx of non-Western immigrants. Drugs-related crime, prostitution, rapes and violent robberies are on the rise. I saw in Italy how terrorist networks use mosques to recruit a new generation of jihadists. The Italian, Greek and Spanish police have detailed files on ethnic crime and dangerous Islamist networks. Are they all racists? I doubt it. Indeed, it is unlikely that those who integrate into our society and respect our laws, social and cultural values and freedom will easily become the subject of a police investigation.
Emerson Vermaat is a Dutch expert on terrorism and crime. His website is: www.emersonvermaat.com.
1. www.billwarnerpi.com, November 4, 2008 ("Al Shabab 'Money Man' Sheikh Hassan Al-Turki runs the 'Al-Barakaat Hawala' money transfers from Norway, UK & USA to Somalia in support of terrorism").