Friday, November 02, 2012

NEW ARTICLE: "Kenya’s Muslim Youth Center and Al-Shabab’s East African Recruitment"

Ahmad Iman Ali

I have a new article in the October issue of the CTC Sentinel, published by the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point.  The article, "Kenya's Muslim Youth Center and Al-Shabab's East African Recruitment," examines the history of the Muslim Youth Center (MYC), a Kenyan group founded in the capital city of Nairobi which is likely the most important East African ally of the Somali insurgent movement Al-Shabab.  The MYC has long provided Kenyan foreign fighters to Al-Shabab. 

"Since 2007, the Somali militant group al-Shabab has recruited hundreds of foreign fighters.[1] Its Western foreign fighters have largely monopolized media attention despite the likelihood that the group’s heaviest foreign fighter recruitment has been in East Africa. The bulk of non-Somali foreign fighters probably come from East African countries such as Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, and Sudan and were recruited by al-Shabab’s regional allies, such as Kenya’s Muslim Youth Center (MYC). Encouraging East African Muslims to join al-Shabab has become a priority for the movement’s media department, the al-Kataib Media Foundation.

The focus on regional foreign fighter recruitment makes logistical sense since it is easier to facilitate recruits’ travel regionally compared to the requirements of recruitment in places further afield such as North America and Western Europe. The large East African Muslim communities, particularly the growing number of alienated and disaffected youth, also provide al-Shabab with promising recruitment pools.
This article will first examine al-Shabab’s regional recruitment drives in East Africa, and then profile the MYC, which is likely the Somali militant group’s most reliable source of regional foreign fighters."

Read the rest of the article HERE.

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