Muhammed Abdullahi Hassan a.k.a. Mujahid Miski

Mujahid Miski is the online persona of Muhammed Abdullahi Hassan, a Minnesota man of Somali descent wanted by the FBI for providing material support to the Somalia-based terror group al-Shabab.“Wanted by the FBI,” FBI, accessed May 6, 2015, http://www.fbi.gov/wanted/seeking-info/providing-material-support-1. Miski reportedly left for Somalia as a teenager in 2008 to join al-Shabab“Esme Murphy, “Former Minnesota Man Played Key Role In Inciting Texas Terror Attack,” WCCO-TV, May 4, 2015, http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2015/05/04/former-minnesota-man-played-key-role-in-inciting-texas-terror-attack/. as part of a wave of at least 23 Minnesota men who joined the African terrorist group and other terrorist groups between 2007 and 2013.Laura Yuen and Sasha Aslanian, “Timeline: Minnesota pipeline to al-Shabab,” Minnesota Public Radio, last updated September 25, 2013, http://minnesota.publicradio.org/projects/ongoing/somali_timeline/table.shtml. Miski has created a broad social-media presence on Facebook, Twitter, and Ask.fm to recruit for ISIS and al-Shabab.Source for image: FBI as cited by Channel 4, "Former Minnesota Man Played Key Role In Inciting Texas Terror Attack," Somali Agenda, May 5, 2015, https://somaliagenda.com/former-minnesota-man-played-key-role-in-inciting-texas-terror-attack/.

CEP has repeatedly called on Twitter to permanently remove Miski and other extremist users. Twitter has suspended Miski’s accounts upwards of 30 times.Michael Isikoff, “Twitter under pressure to act more aggressively against terrorists,” Yahoo News, February 18, 2015, http://news.yahoo.com/twitter-under-pressure-to-act-more-aggressively-against-terrorists-230347109.html. Each time, Miski has reappeared with a new account and resumed posting messages of support for ISIS, communicating with would-be jihadists, and encouraging violence. In some instances, Miski has been able to create new Twitter accounts only minutes after his prior account was suspended, and has retained his followers with each profile iteration.

In a February 2014 tweet Miski claimed to be a member of al-Qaeda.Anthony L. Kimery, “Jabhat Al Nusra Praises American Suicide Bomber As Other Americans Join Jihad,” Homeland Security Today, May 30, 2014, http://www.hstoday.us/blogs/the-kimery-report/blog/jabhat-al-nusra-praises-american-suicide-bomber-as-other-americans-join-jihad/a6587ed6e14ba6897f595ea82741faef.html. He is also a prominent cheerleader and networker for ISIS and corresponds with ISIS fighters and supporters on social media. Miski has been described as “one of the go-to individuals online” for people who want to travel to ISIS-controlled territory. Authorities believe Miski is still in Somalia.Evan Perez, Pamela Brown, and Jim Sciutto, “Texas attackers had private conversations with known terrorists,” CNN, May 7, 2015, http://www.cnn.com/2015/05/07/politics/fbi-warning-elton-simpson-cartoon-event-attack/index.html.

According to ABC News, Miski had reportedly been in contact “for months” with Elton Simpson, one of the two shooters responsible for the May 3, 2015 attack on the American Freedom Defense Initiative’s “Muhammad Art Exhibit and Cartoon Contest” in Garland, Texas.Catherine Shoichet and Michael Pearson, “Garland, Texas, shooting suspect linked himself to ISIS in tweets,” CNN, May 4, 2015, http://www.cnn.com/2015/05/04/us/garland-mohammed-drawing-contest-shooting/; Brian Ross, Rhonda Schwartz, Randy Kreider, and James Gordon Meek, “The American Terror Recruiter’s Link to Texas Shooting,” ABC News, May 5, 2015, http://abcnews.go.com/US/american-terror-recruiters-link-texas-shooting/story?id=30827653. Ten days before the attack, Miski praised the Charlie Hebdo shooting online and said, “It’s time for brothers in the #US to do their part.” Brian Ross, Rhonda Schwartz, Randy Kreider, and James Gordon Meek, “The American Terror Recruiter’s Link to Texas Shooting,” ABC News, May 5, 2015, http://abcnews.go.com/US/american-terror-recruiters-link-texas-shooting/story?id=30827653. Miski then told Simpson over Twitter, “One individual is able to put a whole nation onto it’s [sic] knees.” Brian Ross, Rhonda Schwartz, Randy Kreider, and James Gordon Meek, “The American Terror Recruiter’s Link to Texas Shooting,” ABC News, May 5, 2015, http://abcnews.go.com/US/american-terror-recruiters-link-texas-shooting/story?id=30827653.


Miski calls for an attack on U.S. soil 10 days before the attack in Garland, Texas


Eight days before the Garland attack, Miski tells Garland shooter Elton Simpson that “one individual is able to put a whole nation onto it’s [sic] knees.”

Hours before the attack, the FBI warned Garland police that Simpson had shown interest in the event in online conversations with Miski.Evan Perez, Pamela Brown, and Jim Sciutto, “Texas attackers had private conversations with known terrorists,” CNN, May 7, 2015, http://www.cnn.com/2015/05/07/politics/fbi-warning-elton-simpson-cartoon-event-attack/index.html. Shortly after the Texas attack, which wounded one security official and left Simpson and co-shooter Nadi Soofi dead, Miski tweeted that he would miss his daily correspondence with Simpson.Brian Ross, Rhonda Schwartz, Randy Kreider, and James Gordon Meek, “The American Terror Recruiter’s Link to Texas Shooting,” ABC News, May 5, 2015, http://abcnews.go.com/US/american-terror-recruiters-link-texas-shooting/story?id=30827653. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack, although that claim has not been verified.Holly Yan, “ISIS claims responsibility for Texas shooting but offers no proof,” CNN, May 5, 2015, http://www.cnn.com/2015/05/05/us/garland-texas-prophet-mohammed-contest-shooting/.

In November 2014, using the Twitter handle @The Minnesotan3, Miski called for the beheading of CEP President Fran Townsend.“CEP Calls on Twitter to Take Immediate Action to Stop Extremist Misuse of Its Platforms,” Counter Extremism Project, November 21, 2014, http://www.counterextremism.com/press/cep-calls-twitter-take-immediate-action-stop-extremist-misuse-its-platforms; Esme Murphy, “Former Minnesota Man Played Key Role In Inciting Texas Terror Attack,” WCCO-TV, May 4, 2015, http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2015/05/04/former-minnesota-man-played-key-role-in-inciting-texas-terror-attack/.


Miski threatens to behead CEP President Fran Townsend in November 2014

In a December 2014 Twitter Direct Message to Minneapolis-St. Paul television station KMSP, Miski promised “the caliphate will reach everywhere,” including the White House.Tom Lyden, “Minnesota man’s ISIS connection to Garland, Texas shooting,” KMSP Fox 9, May 5, 2015, http://www.myfoxtwincities.com/story/28975221/minnesota-mans-isis-connection-to-garland-texas-shooting. He refused comment when KMSP asked if al-Shabab had planned suicide bombings inside the United States.Tom Lyden, “Minnesota man’s ISIS connection to Garland, Texas shooting,” KMSP Fox 9, May 5, 2015, http://www.myfoxtwincities.com/story/28975221/minnesota-mans-isis-connection-to-garland-texas-shooting. Miski blamed the April 2015 Baltimore riots on “the oppression of democracy” and called for the implementation of sharia.“Extremists Use #BaltimoreRiots To Spread Propaganda, Recruit New Members,” Counter Extremism Project, https://storify.com/CEP/isis-extremists-user-baltimoreriots-to-spread-prop?utm_content=buffer8c50b&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer. Below are some examples of Miski’s incendiary tweets:


Miski calls for the slaughter of a female, Jewish captive in December 2014


Miski calls for the murder of Jews following the November 2014 attack on the Har Nof synagogue in Jerusalem in which Palestinian assailants murdered four worshippers and one Druze policeman


Miski threatens the beheading of Americans and Brits in October 2014

On July 16, 2015, jihadist Twitter users began reporting that Miski had died, though his death remained unconfirmed. On October 22, 2015, a Twitter user with the handle @Bint_Hjrateyn announced Miski “will be back once Allah grants him safety. He is still in hiding from the Harakah.” In comments to the post, the Twitter user said Miski’s home had been raided and there are groups looking for him.Umm Zubaydah, Twitter post, October 22, 2015, 6:45 a.m., https://twitter.com/Bint_Hjrateyn/status/657145693509976064. The user also posted a link to a Twitter account allegedly belonging to Miski.Umm Zubaydah, Twitter post, October 22, 2015, 6:46 a.m., https://twitter.com/Bint_Hjrateyn/status/657146122230697985. That account, user name Salafi Jihadi #Somal and handle @jihadist_s, began tweeting on September 20, 2015.Salafi Jihadi #Somal, Twitter, accessed October 22, 2015, https://twitter.com/jihadist_s.


Twitter users falsely report Miski’s death in July 2015.


Twitter users discuss claims that Miski has resurfaced online.


Twitter user claims that Miski has resurfaced online under the handle @jihadist_s. Other Twitter users debate his whereabouts.

On December 7, 2015, the U.S. State Department issued a statement saying that Miski had in fact “surrendered to the Federal Government of Somalia on November 6, 2015.”Email from U.S. State Department spokesman, December 7, 2015. The State Department confirmed that Miski was a lawful permanent resident of the United States, and that he was in the custody of the Somali National Intelligence and Security Agency in Mogadishu. The State Department further disclosed that the U.S. Mission to Somalia was in talks with the Somali government regarding the case. Currently, there is no extradition agreement between Somalia and the United States, according to the U.S. State Department.Email from U.S. State Department spokesman, December 7, 2015. Miski reportedly said he has “no intention of coming back” to the United States.Dan Joseph and Harun Maruf, “American Al-Shabab, Nabbed in Somalia, Denies IS Links,” Voice of America, December 8, 2015, http://m.voanews.com/a/american-al-shabab-arrested-in-somalia-denies-links-to-is/3093529.html.

In an exclusive interview with Voice of America while in custody, Miski admitted to working for al-Shabab’s “media and preaching departments” but claimed that he left in 2013 because he believed the group was unfairly imprisoning, torturing, and killing people. He claimed members of al-Shabab raided his home in early November 2015. Miski said he escaped after they blindfolded and terrorized his family. He further claimed villagers from the southern Somali town of Barawe reported him to the police after they saw him walking through a nearby forest earlier that month.Dan Joseph and Harun Maruf, “American Al-Shabab, Nabbed in Somalia, Denies IS Links,” Voice of America, December 8, 2015, http://m.voanews.com/a/american-al-shabab-arrested-in-somalia-denies-links-to-is/3093529.html.

Based on his past contact with Simpson and other Twitter conversations, U.S. authorities investigated whether Miski had possibly radicalized Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, the couple who murdered 14 people during a December 2015 rampage in San Bernadino, California.Richard Winton and Richard A. Serrano, “Did Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik get help in terror plot?,” Los Angeles Times, December 8, 2015, http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-san-bernardino-shooters-radicalized-but-did-they-get-help-20151208-story.html. Miski admitted to Voice of America that he had voiced support for ISIS but denied any ties to the group. He denied any contact with the couple.Dan Joseph and Harun Maruf, “American Al-Shabab, Nabbed in Somalia, Denies IS Links,” Voice of America, December 8, 2015, http://m.voanews.com/a/american-al-shabab-arrested-in-somalia-denies-links-to-is/3093529.html.

Some Twitter users reacted to the news of Miski’s arrest by praying for him, while others doubted the veracity of the news or called for vengeance.

Twitter user Abu Ramzi Ashami, using the handle @_Abu_Ramzi_, claimed Miski did not turn himself in but “got caught by the apostate government of Somalia.” Ashami released several tweets denying the official State Department version of events.Abu Ramzi Ashami, Twitter post, December 8, 2015, 8:30 a.m., https://twitter.com/_Abu_Ramzi_/status/674219564863987712.

 
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