Minnesota Democratic Senator Al Franken approved of President Obama’s plan to stem the tide of Islamic militants in Syria and Iraq, but raised questions on how recruitment of American citizens should be dealt with. President Obama approved of airstrikes in Syria and Iraq and raised the possibility of sending ground troops. Senator Franken said, “Everyone in that room believes that this is a barbaric group that needs to be degraded and destroyed.”
Senator Franken emphasized the importance of including Arab allies of the U.S. in combating the threat. He is concerned about growing recruitment of Americans to go overseas and fight on behalf of the militant Islamic forces. There have been cases in his home state of Minnesota of people who have gone abroad join the militant group, often called ISIS or ISIL, whose tactics include brutal beheadings and other forms of extreme violence. At least one Minnesotan has died after joining the radical group.
The FBI and a grand jury are investigating such recruitments, and members of the Somali community have received subpoenas over the matter. A mosque in Bloomington Minnesota released a statement that it “vigorously opposes the recruitment of any persons to participate in violent or extremist activities.” The director of the mosque Hyder Aziz, removed an unidentified man who was speaking about his extremist views and was clearly attempting to recruit.