Mohamed Ali is a young Somali American with a mission to help youth in Somalia steer clear of extremist groups.
Ali was born in Mogadishu, but when he was 10, as Somalia was grappling with a civil war, he and his family left for Canada. They finally settled in the US.
Ali attended Ohio State University and eventually became a lawyer, practicing immigration law. He says it was on a trip to Rome that the idea of going back to Somalia entered his mind. He met with a group of immigrants who had left Somalia for Europe.
"I had left the country because of civil war, but speaking to those men, I found out that they had left because they had no opportunities," he recalls.
Ali found out it wasn’t just illegal immigration that these young men were involved in, but also terrorist activities. Many of these young men and women ended up joining terrorist groups, such as al-Shabab.
He tells a story that’s familiar to many youth in Somalia: A young man decides to leave his village because of drought, unemployment or famine and heads to Mogadishu in search of opportunity. And he gets stuck…