05-20-2018  5:05 am      •     
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NEWS BRIEFS

Raina Croff to Speak at Architectural Heritage Center

'When the Landmarks are Gone: Older African Americans, Place, and Change in N/NE Portland’ describes SHARP Walking Program ...

Portland Playhouse Presents August Wilson’s ‘Fences’ Through June 10

May 20 performance will include discussion on mental health; June 10 performance will be followed by discussion of fatherhood ...

Peggy Houston-Shivers Presents Benefit Concert for Allen Temple CME

Concert to take place May 20 at Maranatha Church ...

Family Friendly Talent Show, May 18

Family Fun Night series continues at Matt Dishman Community Center ...

Oregon State study says it's OK to eat placenta after all

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — First experts said eggs are bad for you, then they say it's OK to eat them. Is red wine good for your heart or will it give you breast cancer?Should you eat your placenta?Conflicting research about diets is nothing new, but applying the question to whether new mothers...

US arrest, raids in Seattle pot probe with China ties

SEATTLE (AP) — U.S. authorities have arrested a Seattle woman, conducted raids and seized thousands of marijuana plants in an investigation into what they say is an international black market marijuana operation financed by Chinese money, a newspaper reported Saturday.Authorities are still...

State sees need to reduce elk damage in the Skagit Valley

MOUNT VERNON, Wash. (AP) — Elk are easy to spot against the green backdrop of the Skagit Valley, where much of the resident North Cascades elk herd that has grown to an estimated 1,600 is found.For farmers in the area — especially those who grow grass for their cattle or to sell to...

Famed mini sub's control room to become future exhibit

BREMERTON, Wash. (AP) — The U.S. Naval Undersea Museum at Keyport has a new addition to its archives — the salvaged control room of the legendary, one-of-a-kind Cold War-era miniature submersible NR-1.Adm. Hyman G. Rickover, the father of the nuclear Navy, conceived the idea for the...

OPINION

Golfing While Black Is Not a Crime

Grandview Golf Club asks five Black women to leave for golfing too slow ...

Discovering the Best of Black America in 2018

Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis discusses the DTU Journalism Fellowship & Scholarship Program ...

Will Israel’s Likud Party Ever Respect the Rights of Palestinians?

Bill Fletcher weighs in on the precarious future of the two-state solution between the Israeli government and the Palestinian people ...

The Future of Medicinal Marijuana in Pets

Dr. Jasmine Streeter says CBD-derived products show beneficial therapeutic benefits for pets ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Guess who's coming to Windsor? Royal ceremony weds cultures

BURLINGTON, New Jersey (AP) — With a gospel choir, black cellist and bishop, Oprah, Serena and Idris Elba in the audience and an African-American mother-of-the-bride, Saturday's wedding of Prince Harry to American actress Meghan Markle was a blend of the solemn and the soulful.Guess who's...

A royal wedding bridges the Atlantic and breaks old molds

WINDSOR, England (AP) — The son of British royalty and the daughter of middle-class Americans wed Saturday in a service that reflected Prince Harry's royal heritage, Meghan Markle's biracial roots and the pair's shared commitment to putting a more diverse, modern face on the monarchy.British...

First class for Mississippi school after desegregation deal

CLEVELAND, Miss. (AP) — A small Mississippi Delta town whose rival high schools were combined last year under a desegregation settlement has held its first graduation ceremony.No longer Trojans and Wildcats, they're all Wolves now at Cleveland Central High School, whose seniors collected...

ENTERTAINMENT

Reggie Lucas, who worked with Miles Davis and Madonna, dies

NEW YORK (AP) — Reggie Lucas, the Grammy-winning musician who played with Miles Davis in the 1970s and produced the bulk of Madonna's debut album, has died. He was 65.The performer's daughter, Lisa Lucas, told The Associated Press that her father died from complications with his heart early...

Broadcast networks go for milk-and-cookies comfort this fall

NEW YORK (AP) — If provocative, psyche-jangling shows like "The Handmaid's Tale" are your taste, head directly to streaming or cable. But if you're feeling the urge for milk-and-cookies comfort, broadcast television wants to help.The upcoming TV season will bring more sitcom nostalgia in the...

Met says it has evidence Levine abused or harassed 7 people

NEW YORK (AP) — The Metropolitan Opera said in court documents Friday that it found credible evidence that conductor James Levine engaged in sexually abusive or harassing conduct with seven people that included inappropriate touching and demands for sex acts over a 25-year period.The Met...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Small clubs cross fingers for World Cup windfalls

TORCY, France (AP) — The ideal scenario for the club where Paul Pogba played football as a kid might go...

On time, on target: LeBron, Cavs pound Celtics in Game 3

CLEVELAND (AP) — Before taking the floor, LeBron James stood in the hallway with his teammates outside...

US, China agree to cut American trade deficit

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States and China have agreed to take measures to "substantially reduce"...

Insect ambassadors: Honeybees buzz on Berlin cathedral

BERLIN (AP) — On the roof of Berlin's cathedral, bees are buzzing.Beekeeper Uwe Marth pulls out a honeycomb...

Love and fire: Text of Michael Curry's royal wedding address

WINDSOR, England (AP) — And now in the name of our loving, liberating and life-giving God, Father, Son and...

Episcopal bishop Curry gives royal wedding an American flair

WINDSOR, England (AP) — Nothing quite captured the trans-Atlantic nature of Saturday's royal wedding as...

CNN

Map of SomaliaScandinavia's offer of sanctuary to refugees from Somalia in the 1990s appears to have had some unintended, and unwelcome, consequences. Dozens of young ethnic Somalis living there have embraced jihad, returning to the Horn of Africa to join the al Qaeda affiliate Al-Shabaab.

Norway's Intelligence Agency PST is still investigating whether one of the attackers at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi had lived in Norway. The 23-year old had come to Norway with his family at the age of nine as a refugee, but according to Norwegian media had become unsettled after being unable to find work and begun to frequent jihadist websites.

In a statement last week, the PST said it had not yet been determined whether the man took part in the attack, but added: "Based on the information that we have uncovered this far in the investigation ... the suspicion of his involvement has been strengthened."

If it is confirmed, the Norwegian citizen will become the latest in a lengthening line of Somalis from Scandinavia who have either joined Al-Shabaab or planned terror attacks in their adopted homelands.

The Al-Shabaab commander known as Ikrima who was targeted by US Navy SEALs in an unsuccessful raid in Somalia earlier this month also spent several years in Norway. Kenyan counter-terrorism sources told CNN they suspected Ikrima had a hand in the Westgate attack and was connected to the suspected Norwegian gunman.

Morten Storm, a Dane and former intelligence informant who penetrated Al-Shabaab and spent time with Ikrima, told CNN that Danish intelligence are particularly concerned about the threat of a Somali terrorist operative who works closely with Ikrimah called Abu Musab al Somali.

Storm says Danish intelligence told him of their concern that al Somali was planning terrorist attacks inside Denmark after intercepting communications between him and militants there.

Al Somali -- who also goes by the name Abu Muslim -- came to Denmark as a young refugee, was granted permanent resident status, and settled in Copenhagen. In 2005, al Somali travelled to Somalia where he joined other foreign fighters affiliated with the Islamic Courts Union, an Islamist militia that evolved into Al Shabaab. A year later al Somali travelled to Yemen to broker a weapons deal with al Qaeda, according to Storm.

After serving about two years in jail al Somali returned to Somalia, where he joined Al-Shabaab. According to Storm, who exchanged messages with al Somali, he also worked closely with Jehad Serwan Mostafa, an American Shabaab operative wanted by the FBI, and Abdelkadir Warsame, a Somali Al-Shabaab operative who was arrested navigating the sea between Yemen and Somalia by the United States in 2011.

Ikrima's name also featured in the trial of two Swedish Somalis who were arrested in 2010 after allegedly training with Al-Shabaab in Somalia. Swedish authorities accused them of planning to return to Somalia to carry out terrorist attacks. A phone intercept between a senior Al Shabaab figure in Somalia and one of those arrested was introduced during the trial. "You should contact this brother -- his name is Ikrima," the senior figure said on the phone.

After being convicted the pair were subsequently acquitted by an Appeals court, but it nevertheless noted the men were in contact with, and sympathetic to, Al-Shabaab.

Analysts estimate there are several hundred committed Al-Shabaab supporters across Scandinavia.

There are about 25,000 ethnic Somalis in Norway, 17,000 in Denmark and 44,000 in Sweden. The great majority arrived after Somalia collapsed as a state in 1991. Most have been grateful for sanctuary but a very small minority have become radicalized, especially among those who came to Europe as children.

Scandinavia is known for its generous welfare system, but the arrival of the refugees has created a new kind of inequality. Ethnic Norwegians for example, all receive monthly payments from the country's oil sales, but immigrant families do not qualify.

In one of the most bizarre cases, two teenage sisters of Somali origin left their home in Norway last week -- apparently headed to Syria.

According to a Norwegian police statement: "The family that reported the missing girls is deeply concerned by the purpose of the journey and fears they might have gone to Syria." The Norwegian newspaper Verdens Gang reported that the sisters, aged 16 and 19, left a message saying for their family saying Muslims in Syria were being "attacked from all directions."

Among ethnic Somalis who have tried to carry out acts of terrorism in Scandinavia is Mohamed Geele, who first moved to Denmark in 1995 at the age of 12. Three years ago, he tried to murder Kurt Westergaard, the Danish cartoonist responsible in 2005 for a controversial depiction of the Prophet Mohammed. Police arrived minutes after Geele forced his way into Westergaard's house in Aarhus with an ax.

Geele had already been under observation by Danish security services because of his suspected close links to Al-Shabaab. He is now serving a nine-year sentence for attempted murder. Of all al Qaeda's affiliates none has made more noise about the cartoons than Al-Shabaab. Some analysts believe that is because Scandinavian Somalis brought their anger over the issue with them when they travelled to Somalia to join Al-Shabaab.

The group has explicitly threatened another Scandinavian cartoonist, Lars Vilks. In a 2011 video subtitled in English and Swedish, Abu Zaid Sweden -- a Swedish-Somali member of the group -- said: "We will catch you wherever you are."

And he added: In whatever hole you are hiding -- know what awaits you -- as it will be nothing but this: slaughter," as he simulated slitting his throat.

Michael Taarnby, one of Denmark's leading experts on Al-Shabaab, told CNN in 2011: "Intelligence services have very little understanding of what's going on. Recruiting informants has been an uphill battle because Somalis don't trust them to protect them."

"Those attracted are usually quite young -- there's the usual issue of a clash of cultures -- of being stuck between east Africa and Scandinavia and not knowing where they belong," Taarnby told CNN.

Al-Shabaab has recruiters in several Western countries who try to persuade young Somalis to join the group in Somalia, and help them get there, according to Western counter-terrorism officials.

There is also evidence that jihadists of non-Somali backgrounds in Scandinavia have gravitated toward Al-Shabaab. One reason is the increased mixing of Somali nationals with extremists of Arab and south Asian descent in hardline Salafi mosques across Scandinavia.

Munir Awad, who is Lebanese-born but lived in Sweden, was one of four men convicted of a plotting a Mumbai-style attack against the offices of a Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten, in 2010. The newspaper had printed cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed several years previously. Awad was suspected of having joined up with jihadist militants in Somalia in 2006 before fleeing the country, according to a Danish security source. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

The numbers of militants traveling from Europe to Somalia is believed to have slowed in the last two years because of setbacks suffered by Al-Shabaab in Somalia, its internal power struggle, stories of mistreatment of Western recruits, and the magnetic pull of jihad in Syria. But Scandinavia's intelligence services remain concerned about a terror pipeline to, and from, east Africa.

 

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