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Local Somalis testify to Congress about missing youth

Two local Somalis testified to the U.S. Senate Homeland Security Committee on Wednesday as part of its investigation into possible terrorist recruitment in the United States, the Pioneer Press reported.

Osman Ahmed, president of the Riverside Plaza Tenants Association in Minneapolis, and Abdirahman Mukhtar, a community center youth program manager, gave testimony regarding the recent disappearance of several Somali youth, who have returned to Somalia, the Star Tribune reported.

Shirwa Ahmed, 27, of Minneapolis became the first known suicide bomber from the United States when he blew himself up in Somalia last October. Up to 20 Somalis have disappeared from the Twin Cities area, many of whom are believed to have joined Al-Shabaab, an organization that is alleged to have ties with al-Qaida, the Star Tribune reported.

One young man who returned to Somalia was Burhan Hassan, a nephew of Osman Ahmed, Minnesota Public Radio reported.

Osman Ahmed told the committee, led by Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., that his nephew attended the Abubakar As-Saddique mosque in Minneapolis, and said that a minority group introduced his nephew to extremist ideologies, the Star Tribune reported.

Mukhtar testified that the actions of Shirwa Ahmed and other violent extremists are contrary to Somali culture and Islam, the Star Tribune reported.