CAIRO – An American Muslim gas station manager has chosen to fight the so-called Islamic State efforts to recruit young Muslims in Minnesota, creating short cartoon video features to show why ISIL’s message is wrong.
“It’s the average people who must fight this war,” Mohamed Ahmed, a 40-year-old gas station manager in Minneapolis, told The Guardian on Wednesday, February 17.
“It’s a game changer. As Muslims on the frontline of this issue – whether it’s fighting it physically or fighting in my ways with counter ideology – that is a way we are closer to victory.”
Ahmed’s anti-ISIL fight started after he noticed that nearly 30 young Somali-Americans from Minneapolis left the US to fight with al-Shabaab between 2006 and 2011.
As ISIL tries to do the same nowadays, Ahmed is among those in Minneapolis trying to stop them.
The Muslim man spends his free time producing anti-ISIL cartoons in which he uses the Qur’an to craft religious messages to show why ISIL’s message is wrong.
Under the title, Average Mohamed, the series is meant to represent the vast majority of Muslim gas station managers, doctors, farmers, and professors who reject ISIL’s extremist interpretation of Islam.
“The goal is to go ahead and create enough talking points so we can get to the kids before social media gets them,” Ahmed said.
“So even though if they do start seeing these [Isis recruitment] videos … they know this is the wrong path.”
Ahmed is not alone in his fight against ISIL.
Recently, organizations and government agencies have started pouring time and money into counteracting extremist recruitment in Minnesota.
“I’m very proud of my community up here,” Ahmed said.
“When we came, we were crawling, and now we are walking. It’s unbelievable. This community is vibrant.
“We do this work for the sake of our society, but most importantly for the sake of our lord. It is the faith in Islam that guides me through this work,” he added.