The men, Mohamed Haoud Alessa, 20, and Carlos Eduardo Almonte, 24, were to join Al Shabab, which claims ideological kinship with Al Qaeda and which was thought to have provided a haven to Qaeda operatives wanted for bombings of United States embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
The men were taken into custody as they prepared to take separate flights to Egypt, the first leg of their journey to Somalia to join Al Shabab, the officials said.
I’ll wait to see the charging documents from the Justice Department before assessing these two further. But at this point it’s necessary to ask why we’re seeing an uptick in domestic radicalism. The easy answer — and I stress this is just a theory — is that the generation of American Muslims who were young kids and teenagers during 9/11 have grown up seeing what looks like American aggression toward Muslims, making an extremely small cohort within those communities susceptible to the incitement of the conspiracy theorists and murderers who preach al-Qaedism. But I don’t have a rigorous answer yet, so it’s time to revisit this piece more fulsomely than I did here.
(Speaking of that 2005 piece, I see it’s part of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo’s recommended reading for Egyptians who want to learn about the American Muslim experience. Never let it be said that I am afraid to be service-y.)