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We’re No. 1! But Not In a Good Way

The Star Tribune reports on a new study that shows Minnesota is number one when it comes to per capita terror recruitment:

An unprecedented “cluster” of Minnesotans aspiring to become jihadists overseas fueled the nation’s highest rate of terrorism recruitment, according to a new study that also found that attempts to travel to Syria or Iraq are on a steady decline since 2015.
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In a report released Monday called “The Travelers: American Jihadists in Syria and Iraq,” three terrorism scholars described a Twin Cities cluster more akin to terror conspiracy hubs in Belgian and French neighborhoods than the more common one- and two-off efforts more typically foiled by American law enforcement.

The fact that travel to Iraq and Syria to join ISIS is down isn’t entirely a good thing:

“The concern is that, absent a physical space to travel to, their focus will shift elsewhere to avenging the loss of the Islamic State,” Hughes said. “We’ve seen Islamic State propaganda romanticizing the lost caliphate and calling for those to commit attacks out of revenge.”

Minnesota has by far the largest number of “travelers” of any state on a per capita basis. Perhaps more interesting is that Minnesota’s travelers as a percent of the state’s Muslim population is also by far the nation’s highest:

Of course, the numbers involved are small, which makes percentages volatile. But Minnesota obviously stands out as a center of terror recruitment. Thus, it is no surprise that we have also had “the nation’s largest terror recruitment probe,” which resulted in nine convictions in the federal court in Minneapolis. Let’s hope local authorities continue to be vigilant. But in the meantime, can we have some honest conversation about how traditionally-peaceful Minnesota has become one of the states most threatened by terrorism?

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