State Department Labels Somalia Group al-Hijra Terrorists

The U.S. State Department just announced that it has amended the Somalian al-Shabaab terrorist label to include the group al-Hirja. Al-Shabaab, an Qa’ida affiliate in Somalia, hides behind other aliases, including al-Hijra. The amendment to include these al-Shabaab’s affiliates as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) were made under the Immigration and Nationality Act and as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist Executive Order.

Additionally, the Department of State also completed al-Shabaab’s legally required five year FTO review and determined that the terrorist label will remain. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen announced that the ongoing armed conflict in East Africa supporting Somalia’s current designation for Temporary Protective Status (TPS) continues to exist and has extended Somalia’s TPS designation for 18 months.

According to a State Department press release, Al-Hijra, formed in 2008 in Nairobi, Kenya serves as a wing of al-Shabaab. Al-Hijra, which is extensively interconnected with al-Shabaab both organizationally and operationally, consists primarily of Kenyan and Somali followers of al-Shabaab in East Africa. It has openly engaged in al-Shabaab recruiting in Kenya and facilitated travel of al-Shabaab members to Somalia for terrorism purposes.

Since al-Shabaab’s initial 2008 terrorist designation, the group has brutally killed people throughout East Africa. Al Shabaab’s attacks included the October 2017 attack in Mogadishu where the group detonated a truck bomb that killed more than 500 people, the September 2013 Westgate Mall attack in Kenya that killed more than 70 people and the July 2010 suicide bombings in Kampala, Uganda that took place during the World Cup that killed 76 people, including a U.S. citizen.

Al-Shabaab has successfully recruited dozens of Americans to fight in Somalia, many of whom entered the United States through the U.S.-Mexican border. According to a May 2015 WND article, “The U.S. has been bringing in 100,000 Muslims every year through legal channels such as the United Nations refugee program and various visa programs, but in May 2015, reports indicated a pipeline had been established through the southern border with the help of the federal agency whose job it is to protect the homeland.

“They came from Somalia and other African nations, according to a Homeland Security official who was caught transporting a busload of Africans to a detention center near Victorville, California. Somalia is the home base of al-Shabab, a designated foreign terrorist organization. Libya is also awash in Islamist terror following the death of Moammar Gadhafi in 2011.

“A man who appeared to be a Customs and Border Patrol agent was filmed at the gas station at 10:30 p.m. When questioned by Fuentes, he informed her that his large touring bus was full of Somalis and other Africans being transported to a nearby detention center. The tour bus had the U.S. Homeland Security logo, and the agent appeared calm and professional. The windows to the bus were covered. When asked if he was transporting illegal immigrants, the driver said, “No, we ended up taking some people to a detention facility. Somalis and all the Africans.”

Trumped warned of the danger of unvetted Somalis when stumping on the presidential campaign trail in Minnesota, “Here in Minnesota, you’ve seen first-hand the problems caused with faulty refugee vetting, with very large numbers of Somali refugees coming into your state without your knowledge, without your support or approval.” Law enforcement officials backed up Trump’s claim, saying that more than 30 young men from Minnesota have left the county to join Isis or al-Shabaab.

The Department of State’s labeling of Somalia group al-Hirja and others as terrorists was overdue and prudent, as was extending the TPS for Somalis that have escaped the war and are legally seeking asylum in the United States. However, there is an important distinction between those Somalis attempting to enter the border illegally via Mexico that we simply cannot ignore despite today’s hysterical immigration climate.

The atrocities committed in East Africa today are reminiscent of those in Rwanda and cannot be allowed to spread, nor can the world remain silent on what is happening in Africa lest we be complicit in the heinous crimes being committed by these groups.

Lone Somali terrorist appears to guard a pirate ship in Somalia. Photo credit: AP/Farah Abdi Warsameh

Extreme leftists calling for the abolishment of ICE are dangerous and public supporters of the movement, such as Cynthia Nixon and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, should be careful of what they wish for. Somali “refugees” are nearly all Sunni Muslims, and they have zero inclination to assimilate. In 2016 a gang of up to 30 Somali men in Minnesota rampaged through neighborhoods yelling disparaging comments and threats against homeowners, even threatening to rape and kill one woman. If this is the future Nixon, Ocasio-Cortez and others dream of, they can count me out. Reign well.