Somali-American leader: ‘I tried to warn America’ about homegrown radicalization

The Council on American Islamic Relations repeatedly tried to stop a Minnesota community leader from warning about the dangers al-Qaida-linked group posed to the Somali-American community prior to the Kenyan mall massacre.

“I tried to warn America,” Abdirizak Bihi, a Minnesota-based Somali community leader, explained to The Daily Caller.

Minnesota residents were reportedly among the attackers in the grisly assault by al-Shabaab terrorists on the Westgate mall in Nairobi, Kenya. The Twin Cities are home to the largest Somali community in the United States.

Bihi has been working to stop radicalization of Somali-Americans for years. He has testified before Congress about the dangers of radicalization in the U.S. Somali community, working alongside the FBI and the Justice Department. His involvement is personal. Bihi’s nephew was radicalized by al-Shabaab and joined the group in 2008. He was killed the following year.

But he told The Daily Caller the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) has blocked his efforts for years, telling law enforcement agencies by telling them that he doesn’t know the Somali community and calling him “an Islamophobe” in a recent report.

“They say that I am a bad person, that I am anti-Muslim, and that I don’t represent a hundred percent the Somali community,” Bihi said. “They lie about my life most of the time and try to destroy my character, my capability, and my trust in the community.”

Bihi, director of the Somali Education and Social Advocacy Center, also says CAIR has tried to bring Somalis into the organization and denies the threat that terrorism poses.

Abdirizak Bihi, with Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca testifies during a hearing before the House Homeland Security Committee March 10, 2011 (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The Daily Caller reported this week on how CAIR illegally collects millions in donations from foreign governments. A Justice Department inspector general report rebuked the FBI for defying a ban on working with the terror-connected Muslim advocacy group. (Related: CAIR collects millions from foreign donors thanks to non-profit shell game)

Despite its claim to represent all Muslims, CAIR represents mostly Arabs, Bihi told TheDC. “They don’t represent us. They have nothing to do with us. They don’t provide social services or anything to our community. They treat us like we are animals who don’t speak English.”

“CAIR boasts that it’s a Somali organization,” says Bihi. “They can’t find a Somali to work with them.”