Patrick Poole had a stunning post, “Al-Qaeda Somalia in US: Supporters Blamed for Ohio Arson,” published in Pajamas Media today, attesting to the fratricidal war within the émigré Somali community in Columbus, Ohio.
This should be concerning all Americans given the unfolding revelations about arrests in Holland and in Minnesota of recruiters for homegrown Al Qaeda affiliate Al Shabaab Jihadi fighters in Somalia. We have argued in the NER article, “Foot Soldiers of Islam” that threat would erupt here in the US and eventually spill over to émigré Somali communities at home.
Poole in his Pajamas Media notes what happened in Columbia that should give one pause:
In the early morning of October 19, a fire ravaged through the property surrounding Masjid Salama, a growing , mosque frequented primarily by members of the local Somali community. Several Somali-owned businesses surrounding the mosque were heavily damaged, but the mosque itself was not touched. However, because of the surrounding damage, the mosque itself has not been cleared for reopening.
As reported by the Columbus Dispatch, fire investigators immediately determined that arson was to blame for the blaze.
But rather than blaming the arson on unknown anti-Muslim individuals engaged in a religious , many inside the Columbus Somali community are fixing their suspicions on leaders of another local mosque, Masjid Ibn Taymiya. This mosque is dominated by supporters of the al-Shabaab terrorist group, and members have made repeated attempts to take over the rapidly growing Salama congregation through an unsuccessful campaign of legal and physical intimidation.
Following the blaze, I met with two leaders of Masjid Salama, who described the ongoing efforts by the leaders of Ibn Taymiya to take over their burgeoning year-and-a-half-old congregation. On November 12, the Salama leaders had to obtain a temporary restraining order to prevent the bulldozing of their rented facility by a leader of the Ibn Taymiya mosque, Mohamed Hassan, who, they say, is the ringleader of the campaign.
They noted the extremist connections to Ibn Taymiya — particularly its sister mosque, Masjid Omar Ibn El Khattab, which was home to the Columbus-based al-Qaeda cell broken up by the . Three members of that al-Qaeda cell have been convicted and are currently serving prison sentences on terror-related charges. Masjid Ibn Taymiya and Masjid Omar are both controlled and operated by the Islamic Society of Greater Columbus.
The Salama leaders also point to their own vocal opposition to the al-Shabaab terrorist group and the extremist ideology it propagates:
We have openly disputed with the al-Shabaab supporters in Columbus, and we reject their ideology of offensive jihad and suicide bombings. As a result, many people have been leaving Ibn Taymiya, where they preach offensive jihad against the infidels, and coming to our mosque to get away from the extremists. That’s why they want to shut us down or take over our mosque — to get rid of the competition. (emphasis mine)
Ibn Taymiya’s ties to the local al-Qaeda mosque are not it’s only troubling connections to terror. The mosque is also affiliated with the Council of Imams, a national organization of Somali Islamic leaders that was incorporated by the previous imam at Ibn Taymiya. It is now headed by Sheik Abdirahman Ahmed, the Minneapolis imam at the center of the current nationwide terrorism investigation into al-Shabaab recruiting.
While arson investigators continue to look into the fire that has temporarily displaced Masjid Salama, the leaders are waiting to see whether local officials and the media in Ohio — who have thus far ignored the larger controversy surrounding the fire — will finally recognize the larger battle between Muslim moderates and extremists happening in the Columbus Somali community.
Gang warfare within the Ummah.
Fast Jihadists vs. Slow Jihadists?