September 24, 2013

Portland Somalis fearful of backlash

They see no sign of terrorist recruitment but worry that the Kenya mall attack will harm the community.

By J. Craig Anderson canderson@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

and Dennis Hoey dhoey@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 2)

click image to enlarge

Hussein Ali and Issa Adaan discuss the attack Monday. “I don’t think any Somalian living in the United States is happy with what happened in Kenya,” Ali says.

Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

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Ahmed Hassan of Portland says the last thing local Somalis would do is support terrorism.

John Patriquin/Staff Photographer

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“As an advocate for the community, I’m just concerned about their safety,” he said.

Hassan said it’s important for Portland’s Somali leaders to maintain a dialogue with the FBI and Department of Homeland Security officials, to quell any suspicions that the community’s young people are being groomed for terrorism.

In the past, federal law enforcement has relied on Somali elders in Portland to be its eyes and ears in the community, Hassan said, but those interactions have decreased in recent years.

“We don’t want them to think we have Koranic training camps where we train them,” he said.

The culture of terrorism is a foreign culture that has infiltrated Somalia only since the war began, Hassan said. “This was never a culture, a value, in Somalia before the civil war.”

Noh said that if he ever learned someone in the Portland area was recruiting for al-Shabab, he would go straight to the police.

“Someone who does that wants to die,” he said. “They want to take someone with them.”

-- Staff Writer David Hench contributed to this report.

J. Craig Anderson can be contacted at 791-6390 or at

canderson@pressherald.com

Twitter: @jcraiganderson

Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at

dhoey@pressherald

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