Africa Center Assistant Director Joshua Meservey writes for the National Interest on why ISIS has been successful at recruiting Somali-Americans:
On October 29, 2008, an American named Shirwa Ahmed drove a vehicle loaded with explosives into the northern Somali city of Bosaso. When he detonated the bomb, as part of one of five near-simultaneous attacks across northern Somalia, he became the second-known American suicide bomber.
Ahmed was one of dozens of Somali-Americans enticed to fight in Somalia by al-Shabaab, a Somali terrorist organization that controls swathes of the East African country. On February 21, the group called for attacks on several malls in the West, including the Mall of America in Minnesota. The group recruited as many as sixty Americans—nearly all of Somali descent—including one added to the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists list in January. Al-Shabaab’s efforts constitute the most successful terrorist recruiting program in U.S.history, according to the House Homeland Security Committee.