Al-Shabaab posts recruitment video featuring 3 Minn. men - My29 WFTC Minneapolis-St. Paul

Al-Shabaab posts recruitment video featuring 3 Minn. men

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A new recruiting video from the terror group al-Shabaab posted to YouTube and called "The Path to Paradise" focuses on the journey of three men who left Minnesota to die in Somalia.

The video, which demonstrated high production values, has since been taken down; however, FOX 9 News obtained a copy of the never-before-seen footage of three young men who left Minneapolis six years ago to join training camps in Somalia.

All three of the men profiled in the video -- including the only non-Somali to be recruited -- are now dead, killed either in combat or in suicide attacks.

For Muslims in Minnesota, the end of Ramadan is met with a similar celebration to Christmas for Christians. Families flock to the Mall of America to celebrate the end of 30 days of fasting -- but the video posted on the last day of the holy month puts a different spin on the idea of sacrificing to be closer to God.

The nearly 40-minute video features Dahir Gure, Mohammed Hassan and Troy Kastigar, all of whom left for Somalia in 2007 and 2008. The video chronicles the path of the three "from the Twin Cities to the Land of 2 Migrations," and each of them spoke directly to those who are still in Minnesota.

"I would like to speak to my brothers in western countries," Gure said.

Each of the men are seen in training camps and traveling through Somalia.

"This is the real Disney Land," said Kastigar. "You need to come over here, join us and take pleasure in this fun."

Eventually, the video reveals how each of them died, becoming martyrs for their cause.

"It is targeting, for the first time, specifically our young men and women," said Abdi Bihi, who works with Somali youth and whose own nephew, Burhan Hassan, went to Somalia and died.

Bihi said the video indicates al-Shabaab needs new soldiers and is hoping to find them in the large population living in the Twin Cities, where unemployment is high and there are few programs to help young Somali men and women.

"They are losing badly," Bihi said. "They are weak and they need to rebuild their image by getting more young people from us."

Former Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher, who now works with the Somali community, told FOX 9 News the video also attempts to rewrite history.

"This is a marketing package," he said. "This is a re-branding and attempting to show how good it was."

The video claims the young men who left Minnesota to fight against Ethiopians were actually fighting against Americans, and Fletcher says that's a blatant attempt to ingratiate the group with al Qaeda.

"They've glorified terrorism," he said. "They've made America the target and they've tried to closen [sic] the relationship with al Qaeda."

The FBI is concerned about the quality of the video, since it is much more sophisticated than previous videos released by the group. It is also the first time Americans have been featured so prominently, according to Abdi.

"This is the first time to see such a lengthy, purposeful video from them," he said. "They are from here. The whole idea is that people will know them. Those angry young men will say, 'This is what they did. If I can be man enough, why am I being pushed around?'"

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