There was much that Cali didn’t understand—his feelings for Jonathan, the message he had receive from Allah, and why his father acted the way he did? Was quitting his job and striking out on his own, the answer? He didn’t know for sure, but ultimately, he decided that it was the right thing to do. He said goodbye to his best friend and left to find the uncle who, according to his father, held the same religious convictions as he did.
It was a long and dangerous journey and took most of the money he had saved to make the trip. When he arrived at the airport in Mogadishu, he was lost, still unsure of the religious message he had received, and more importantly, where to find his uncle—the man who would introduce him to the Emir of Al-Shabaab and to whom he would eventually become an understudy.
The young Somali-American soon learned the ways of Al-Shabaab, learned how to fight, and learned that the United States Government was the biggest impediment to the successful overthrow of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia—an al-Shabaab objective in the civil war they were fighting to convert the country into an Islamic State.
The Emir, wise in his ways, soon realized that Cali had been sent by Allah, to be used as an instrument, a means that would enable him to strike back at the United States. He wanted to show the Americans that Al-Shabaab could strike the U.S. homeland in a deadly, devastating manner, just as the U.S. military had done to his people in Somalia. Now, after two years of understudy, Cali Mahdi was heading back home, on a mission, a mission of deadly consequences.