ISIS Trial Minneapolis: Families Defend Alleged Recruits
An ISIS trial has begun in Minneapolis where a group of Somali Americans are facing a long list of charges including conspiracy to murder outside the United States. If convicted, the men could be behind bars for at least 15 years.
An ISIS related trial in Minneapolis, Minnesota? While many are surprised that ISIS members are trying to recruit youths from the Twin Cities, others are not because Minneapolis is home to over 30,000 Somali Muslims.
On Monday, three Somali Americans – Guled Omar, 21, Abdirahman Daud, 22, and Mohamed Farah, 22 – are set to stand in front of a judge and attempt to defend or explain why they tried to travel to Syria in 2014 to fight with the terror group.
Omar, a recent high school graduate, was working as a security guard to fund his education at a local community college. Daud, who lived in Minneapolis with his mother and 12 siblings, received his diploma from South High School and graduated from Heritage Academy in Minneapolis. He went on to study at Minneapolis Community and Technical College. As for Farah, he graduated in 2012 from Heritage Academy of Science and Technology and attended St. Paul College.
Originally, nine young Minnesota men were apprehended in 2014 after they were trying to get fake passports to book flights from JFK to Istanbul, Turkey. In October 2015, six of them – Abdullahi Yusuf, Zacharia Abdurahman, Hanad Musse, Abdirizak Warsame, Adnan Farah and Hamza Ahmed – faced Judge Michael Davis and pleaded guilty to conspiring to travel to Syria to join ISIS.
The teenagers told the judge that they decided to leave their parents behind and become terrorists after watching countless ISIS propaganda ideas on the Internet. Ahmed confessed:
“… we watched ISIS videos online of the war in Syria and of executions, and me and friends hyped each other up about going to Syria and helping any way we could.”
Omar, Daud, and Farah have been charged with conspiracy to provide material support to ISIL and conspiracy to commit murder abroad after getting caught by an FBI informant. How was Omar caught?
“In May 2014, Omar and his friend, who turned out to be an FBI informant, tried to drive to California and make their way to Syria from there, prosecutors say. But after Omar placed his luggage in a rental vehicle, a family member confronted him. Omar, then 19, abandoned his travel plans. In November 2014, Omar again tried to travel from Minneapolis to San Diego but was stopped at the airport and not allowed to board the plane.”
How were Daud and Farah apprehended?
“Daud, along with Farah, allegedly left Minneapolis for San Diego on April 17 in hopes of getting a fake passport from source in California, unaware that the man he was asking to make the connection for him was actually an FBI informant.
Prosecutors say the men were planning to cross into Mexico and fly out to the Middle East before federal agents arrested him three days later.”
If found guilty, the trio could spend at least 15 years in prison. Here are the names of those charged in the so-called Minneapolis ISIS trial:
Zacharia Abdurahman – guilty plea in Sept. 2015, awaiting sentencing
Hamza Ahmed – guilty plea in April 2016.
Abdirahman Daud – in custody, standing trial on May 9
Adnan Farah – guilty plea in April 2016, awaiting sentencing
Mohamed Farah – in custody, standing trial on May 9
Hanad Musse – guilty plea in Sept. 2015, awaiting sentencing
Abdi Nur – at-large, believed to be with ISIS in Syria
Guled Omar – in custody, standing trial on May 9
Abdirizak Warsame – guilty plea in Feb. 2016, awaiting sentencing
Abdullahi Yusuf – guilty plea in Feb. 2015, awaiting sentencing
Family members and Muslim community leaders insist the men are innocent and never intended to harm their country.