Arrest by Dutch officials tied to missing Minnesota menby Laura Yuen, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — The FBI has confirmed that a recent arrest by Dutch officials is related to the investigation of about 20 Minnesota men who are thought to have traveled to Somalia to fight.
Dutch prosecutors say the 43-year-old Somali man is wanted by U.S. authorities for allegedly bankrolling the purchase of weapons for Islamic extremists and helping others travel to Somalia in 2007 and 2008. He was arrested Sunday.
"We are aware of this individual and of this arrest, and it is tied to our ongoing Minneapolis investigation," said Special Agent E.K. Wilson, spokesman for the Minneapolis office of the FBI. "We are and have been working closely with Dutch authorities and have been coordinating with the U.S. Department of Justice Office of International Affairs."
Wilson would not say how the man was connected to the missing men from the Twin Cities.
Dutch authorities say the man lived in Minneapolis before leaving the U.S. late last year. They have not released his name.
In another development, the imam of the Minneapolis mosque where many of the missing Minnesota men worshipped has learned that he has been taken off the federal no-fly list.
A year ago, Sheikh Abdirahman Ahmad of the Abubakar As-Saddique mosque was denied travel while trying to fly to Saudi Arabia for the annual Muslim pilgrimage. Ahmad and other leaders at Abubakar have repeatedly denied suspicions from some Somali community members that they were involved with recruiting or radicalizing the young men who left to fight or train in Somalia.
The mosque's volunteer youth coordinator, Abdulahi Farah, was also traveling with Ahmad and was barred from flying.
Ahmad's attorney received a call this week from the FBI notifying him that the imam was no longer on the no-fly list, said mosque director Omar Hurre.
Federal authorities typically do not alert individuals when they have been taken off the list, so the new information "was surprising to us," Hurre said.
The FBI could not be immediately reached to comment on Ahmad's status.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)