A federal jury in Minnesota has found three young men guilty of plotting to join ISIS and commit murder overseas, in a case in which six other men have already pleaded guilty. All of the men are Somali-Americans who are in their early 20s; they now face maximum sentences of life in prison.
From NPR’s national security correspondent Dina Temple-Raston:
“In addition to conspiracy to commit murder outside the U.S. and conspiracy to provide material support to a terrorist organization, Mohamed Farah was convicted of lying to an FBI agent, and Guled Omar was convicted of financial aid fraud — he used his financial aid money to fund travel to Syria, prosecutors alleged. Abdirahman Daud was acquitted of a separate perjury charge.”
The case against the three included the testimony of Abdullahi Yusuf, 20, who said Farah, Omar, and Daud had introduced him to radical Islam — and put him on a path to be recruited by ISIS.
The trial brought protests both inside and outside the Minneapolis courthouse — and has prompted questions about the best way to handle young people who’ve been radicalized.
“Because all the men involved in the case are all in their early 20s,” Dina reported in May, “there has been a push to develop a program that helps young men like Yusuf who have pleaded guilty to terrorism charges.”
With some background on the operation, Minnesota Public Radio reports:
“The case divided Minnesota’s Somali-American community. Some leaders argued that the government was overreaching in its anti-terrorism efforts, arresting impressionable young Muslim men who recently graduated from high schools and never left the United States.
“None of the men on trial had previously committed a crime.”