ISIS Threat to America: an Interview with Erick Stakelbeck

by Jerry Gordon and Mike Bates (May 2015)

When we reviewed Erick Stakelbeck’s latest book, ISIS Exposed: Beheadings, Slavery and the Hellish Realities of Radical Islam, we wrote:

Tens of thousands of young Muslims across the ummah from Minneapolis in the US, the UK, France, Germany, Russia and even China have been drawn like bees to the holy beehive of the self-declared Caliphate which espouses Islamic purification through ethnic and religious cleansing.

Stakelbeck addressed an important question about why the large unassimilated Somali émigré community in Minneapolis has become the US hub for Al Qaeda and now ISIS recruitment. The shift of Somali émigré young men from traveling to Somali to join Al Shabaab to join ISIS occurred in the last two years facilitated by the ease of travel to Turkey to enter Syria and the attraction of building a Caliphate based on pure Islam.

On April 20, 2015 six Somali émigré young men in their late teens and early 20’s were arrested and indicted by the US Attorney in Minneapolis for material support to the Islamic State or ISIS. According to the WSJ report:

All six charged Monday had been arrested Sunday. Four appeared in Federal Court in St. Paul, Minnesota—Adnan Farah, Zacharia Yusuf Abdurahman, Hanad Mustafe Musse and Guled Ali Omar—with their court appointed lawyers. Two others appeared in a San Diego court—Mr. Daud and Mohamed Abdihamid Farah—where they were arrested after driving from Minneapolis. They were ordered held pending a detention hearing. 

A seventh Abdi Nur was separately charged as a recruiter as he successfully traveled to Syria to join and fight for ISIS. It is believed that email exchanges and calls with Abdi Nur, who successfully traveled in May 2014 to Syria may have provided the evidence for the charges in the indictment of material support for terrorism. The FBI was able to connect Nur who were indicted, Daud and Yusuf, because of a police report of an accident involving the vehicle driven by Yusuf.

Somali émigré Abdirahman Sheik Mohamud from the second largest Somali community in the US, Columbus, Ohio was indicted on federal terrorist charges following his return from Al Qaeda training in Syria. The indictments announced by the US Attorney in Minneapolis capped a 10 month investigation. The Wall Street Journal report  n this latest development, illustrated the resourcefulness of those indicted. Some used student loans to purchase airline tickets to travel to Turkey to enter Syria and join ISIS. The two detained in San Diego were caught trying to enter Mexico from which they intended to travel to Turkey and hence to Syria. Two had traveled by bus from Minneapolis only to be arrested at New York’s JFK Airport.  

This is the latest story of how the US humanitarian refugee program, controlled by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, flooded this major Midwestern community with 100,000 East Africa Muslims. Many of them failed to assimilate into American culture with radical Mosques recruiting dozens of native born jihadists to fight and die for first al Shabaab in Somalia and now for ISIS in Syria. We have written about this repeatedly since 2008. Somali refugees came to the Twin cities with the assistance of voluntary agencies  paid by the State Department and Department of Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement to process them, provide cash assistance, Medicaid and receive a green card  leading to eventual citizenship. All while many of these Muslim émigrés rejected American values, instead seeking to impose their Sharia law on the host non-Muslim community.

Erick Stakelbeck aired his version of this story, March 17, 2015 on CBN’s The Watchman, “Minneapolis- the US Capital of ISIS.” Stakelbeck knows the Somali émigré terror recruit story and how our humanitarian refugee program played a major role in creating the radical Muslim environment in these communities that indoctrinated and recruited these youths. He visited the areas that have the look and feel of Mogadishu in Minnesota. He spoke with frustrated Somali community and former law enforcement officials about the futility of trying to divert these youths from a likely dead end that have befallen dozens who preceded them. He delved  into what attracts these young American Somali and other Muslim émigrés and converts to follow this delusional self destructive jihadist cause.

There have been Mexican and US intelligence reports of possible ISIS presence in Mexico adjacent to the West Texas and New Mexico borders. Late in April 2015 there was a general intelligence alert by the Department of Homeland Security, Transportation Safety Administration. Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, issued a statement saying the Obama administration “is far behind the curve in scaling up programs to counter domestic radicalization, and it has struggled to explain to Congress whether it has a strategy to combat terrorist travel.” He went on to say:

The potential for ISIS infiltration into the U.S. is great, especially from Europe, which U.S. extremists are using as a transit hub to join ISIS and al-Qaida.

Against this background we invited Erick Stakelbeck for an interview about the ISIS threat to America:


Mike Bates: Erick Stakelbeck, welcome to Your Turn.



Stakelbeck:  Thanks Mike. Great to be with you.


Bates:  And joining me is Jerry Gordon, senior editor of The New English Review and his blog The Iconoclast.  Welcome, Jerry.


Jerry Gordon:  Glad to be back, Mike.


Bates:   Erick, what is the difference between ISIS, ISIL, and the Islamic state?


Stakelbeck:  Mike, at least he knew in late 2012, early 2013, the stirrings were there. ISIS was gaining territory by a lot of victories in Syria, number one, and building their ranks, number two. Foreign fighters from around the world were flocking to Syria to join up with this group. At, the end of the day, in December 2011, President Obama, against the advice of all of his top generals, withdrew every last US soldiers from Iraq. Mike, once he did that, you had Al-Qaeda in Iraq expanding, despite being crushed by the troop.

Then in January 2014, ISIS roars into Fallujah, where our troops expended so much blood and treasure in the battles there. Shortly thereafter, President Obama went on national TV and called ISIS the “JV team of terrorism.” So a lot of responsibility for this lies squarely with him.

Gordon:  Erick, tens of thousands of foreign Muslim young men and women have been attracted and left their countries, including the US, UK, and other around the globe, to join ISIS. What is so compelling about the Islamic State?

Bates:  Where does ISIS get its funding? This is not a cheap operation.

Gordon:  Erick, in your book, you draw attention to US folks who depart for the Islamic State. You call Minneapolis “the hub” attracting those individuals. Recently, we had like seven Somali émigré young men who were indicted in places like Columbus, Ohio, San Diego, and Minneapolis. Why is that the case?

Bates:  Erick, is the US government doing anything to prevent the return of these jihadis to the United States after fighting with Islamic state? Are we doing anything to stop this threat from entering the US at either the Southern or Northern borders?

Gordon:  The other folks who have had experience on the southern border are the Iranians. A few years ago, we had the story about a drug cartel hooking up with an Iranian American in Texas involved with an attempted assassination of the Saudi ambassador in Washington. 

 Bates:  Why didn’t the Obama administration stop ISIS when they left Syria and went into Iraq when they were on the open roads and could have easily been taken out? And combined with that, do you advocate the United States military putting troops on the ground to stop ISIS from advancing?

Stakelbeck:  Thank you for having me.

Bates:  Erick Stakelbeck touched on a large growing émigré Muslim population in the United States. Why is the Obama administration admitting such a large number of Muslim refugees?

Bates:  Man, talk about a Trojan horse.

Gordon:  Absolutely.

Listen to the 1130amWEBY interview with Erick Stakelbeck of CBN’s “The Watchman,” here and here.



Also see Jerry Gordon’s collection of interviews, The West Speaks.


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