Testimony of Abdirizak Bihi before the House Committee on Homeland Security on “The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and that Community’s Response”

Testimony of Abdirizak Bihi
Director, Somali Education and Social Advocacy Center in Minneapolis, MN
Uncle of Burhan Hassan
“The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and the Community’s Response”
Committee on Homeland Security US House of Representatives
Washington DC March 10, 2011


First of all, I want to say thank you to Chairman King and members of the committee for allowing me to speak on behalf of the Muslim Somali American community today. I also want to thank the Somali American community for helping us – the families of the missing children or youths – to stand up against the radicalization of our youths.

I will tell you why I’m here today, and how important it is for me. I’m here because of my nephew Burhan Hassan. Not only him between 20 and 40 others who are Somali Americans in the state of Minnesota that has been lured, brainwashed, radicalized by members of our community and lured back home into a burning inferno and a civil war.

I want to talk about my nephew. My nephew and his family – my sister, I love my sister – and her family was one of about hundred thousand that fled from the civil war into neighboring Kenya, where in the camps there was no order but rape, mass killing, and disorder. Everybody begged and longed for the day that they would be rescued by the international community.

Fortunately, my sister and her family – she was one of the luckiest ones that made it to the shores of the United States of America. My nephew immediately adopted this land and become “A” student. He was loved by the community, his mom, and I and everybody else.

The best thing for us is to put him in Sunday Koranic school, and that was the mosque. The center of Abubakr As-Saddique. We invested in this center with all our money to make it bigger so it could help our youths instead of being in the dangers of the streets, to be influenced into bad behavior. We want our children to succeed.

Unfortunately on the night of election, the historical night of 2008, November 4, my sister kept calling the family and missed her son. We kept calling everybody. We finally end up with other families. We came to the end that our kids were lured back to Somalia.

We went to the mosque and center and asked for answers. Everybody promised that they would meet with us. The other day, we were waiting for the imam and the other leaders, and all we did was – saw up in the Somali TV see them instead of helping us find our children, condemning us as tools to destroy our own mosques and religion. That was more hurtful than missing our children, because now we have to deal within our own community as “tools to destroy our faith and our community.”

That set the stage of two years of struggle, and the battlefield was the Somali American community. Whoever wins the community – if they win the community that they are not missing children but liars like me and my family and twenty other single moms who lost their brightest. Well, after two years of demonstrations, educating, fighting with basically our rental and personal money and efforts of sleeping three hours a night – two and a half years – we won the hearts and mind of the community.

But in the middle of the saga, though we never got help from our leaders, from our organizations, our big Islamic organizations. But in the middle of our winning, where the community started to sympathize with us, what happened to us, what happened to our engineers, doctors, lawyers. My nephew wanted to go to Harvard and become a lawyer or a doctor just like you. With all those pain, then big organizations come to our community that we have never seen. CAIR such a beautiful name. Islamic organizations is tool with the mosques that mosques are an organization that hurt us so more than our missing kids hurt. Called us tools. The center we built. The people we gave millions, our gold our lives our imams we trust. I want to warn you it’s only one center out of forty something centers, and that’s where all the kids are missing. All of them. This organization comes in, agrees with other leaders too, we are liars, we have clan, tribal problems. I don’t know where that came from. We have no clan, tribe or language problems. We are one community. We’ve been hurt by other Muslims in our community. We’ve been denied to stand up.

We had to do three demonstrations on the street in the rain, in the snow in Minnesota. You know Minnesota is cold. Against an Islamic organization that is claiming in the house of Congress they are so powerful that they are helping us that we are tools to be used by Republican by Democrat by liberal by neoconservatives by Nazis by Jewish by this. We have been Muslims since Mohammad… and I want to tell you my community – somali american community – is the most beautiful community in the world. They are 99.9% good American citizens that work day and night – 18 hours 17 hours – seven days to chase American dream. They don’t have a voice. We have been kidnapped so our children. We have been kidnapped by leadership that we have never seen – national umbrella.

I want to conclude for two and a half years I have not done anything else. The Somali community wants to be heard, and I thank you, Mr. King, Congressman King and other members of the committee for getting me here…  My community wants to be heard. I want to ask you to look and open investigations as to what is happening in my community. We are isolated by Islamic organizations and leaders who support them…I want to tell you that 85% of our wonderful youths do not have viable employment, are not engaged in constructive programs, and if we stand and speak up for that, we are labeled and hurt instead of being supported. We need your support. We need a voice to speak up we have been hurt and we are not going away. What I want to say last is it’s important to mention that the Somali community in fact abhor and hate Al-Shabab. Al-Shabab as we speak is killing thousands of people and making them refugees in the streets of Moghidishu. And the world must understand, if there’s no government in Somalia, this problem will continue.


Click here to download the PDF of Mr. Bihi’s testimony before the House Committee on Homeland Security.

One Comment on “Testimony of Abdirizak Bihi before the House Committee on Homeland Security on “The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and that Community’s Response”

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