Hearing: Extremist Group Al-Shabaab Recruiting In SD

Congressional Hearings Raising Fear In Local Somalis

A congressional hearing on Wednesday about the radicalization of American Muslims said that a Somali group with ties to terrorism may be carving out a cell in San Diego.

U.S. intelligence agents told ABC News they believe the Somali extremist group Al-Shabaab is just as big a threat as its ally Al-Qaida.

At Wednesday's hearing, New York Rep. Peter King spelled out where the threat is playing out.

"Al-Shabaab is recruiting in U.S. mosques and Somali communities including Minneapolis and San Diego," said King.

Last August, a former San Diegan was indicted and accused of supporting Al-Shabaab. In late 2010, San Diego was the setting for a stunning federal indictment. The imam of a City Heights mosque who preached non-violence was accused of aiding a terrorist group. The imam and several members of the mosque pleaded not guilty to sending aid and money to Al-Shabaab.

Another revelation that surfaced at the congressional hearing was that 40 Somali-Americans are believed to be fighting for the group.

At the hearing, there were warnings that homegrown threat is growing but so is something else.

"We are concerned this fear will multiply," said Abdulahi Aidid, program manager for the Horn of Africa.

Local Somalis said the hearing is causing anxiety. Already, the local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is looking into dozens of complaints from Somalis, including unwarranted home raids and door to door questioning by local police officers and FBI.

Somali leaders feel Wednesday's hearing links the actions of a few to the entire Somali community.

"It makes us feel discriminated and targeted," says Aidid.

When asked if the hearing was justified because Somalis were aiding terrorist groups, Aidid added, "It's not justified because the community as a whole should not be put on trial."

That community is on alert as law enforcement is expected to closely watch for more recruiting in San Diego.

In June, the local ACLU filed an open records request for police and FBI case records in the Somali probes. The group has yet to get receive a response.

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