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US Attorney: Minnesota Has Terror Recruiting Problem

October 19, 2016 02:33 PM

Six Minnesota men who appeared in federal court Monday are charged with providing support to a terrorism organization, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

The men were arrested in Minnesota and California on Sunday.

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Nineteen-year-old Zacharia Yusuf Abdurahman, 19-year-old Adnan Farah, 19-year-old Hanad Mustafe Musse and 20-year-old Guled Ali Omar were arrested in Minneapolis. Twenty-one-year-old Adirahman Yasin Daud and 21-year-old Mohamed Abdihamid Farah were arrested in San Diego. All six are Somali-American, the FBI said.

The charges and arrests are tied to the efforts of the six men to try to get to Syria to join the terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

"We have a terror recruiting problem in Minnesota," U.S. Attorney for Minnesota Andrew Luger said at a news conference Monday. "This case demonstrates how difficult it is to put an end to recruiting here."

No evidence exists that men had any plans to conduct any terrorism acts in Minnesota, Luger said.

Luger said the six men charged Monday were making great efforts to try to get to Syria to join the Islamic State, a group that has been terrorizing and gaining ground in Syria, Iraq and other countries.

At least nine Minnesotans have been charged now as part of a conspiracy to provide support to ISIL.

The six men charged Monday are accused of working with Abdi Nur, who is in Syria, the complaint said.

Read the criminal complaint here

"They never stopped plotting another way to get to Syria. These men are focused men who were intent on joining a terrorist organization by any means possible," Luger said.

Luger said the six men are not part of an organized recruiting group but were friends who worked to recruit and help each other get to Syria to support ISIL.

There is not one master ISIL recruiting organizer in Minnesota, Luger said; that makes it more difficult to stop.

"I will work and help anyone who in good faith wants to break the cycle of terror recruiting in Minnesota," Luger said. "The problem will not go away unless we address it head on. It is not a Somali problem. It is not an immigrant problem."

Meanwhile, pilot programs that aim to prevent terrorist threats before they start are being implemented in Minneapolis, Boston, and Los Angeles. Leaders from Minneapolis' Somali community were in Washington, D.C. in February to announce their plan.

"Our pilot program hopefully will be successful because what it's addressing is the underlying cause of some of the problems, which is jobs, lack of opportunities, unemployment, social exclusion," Minneapolis City Council Member Abdi Warsame said at the time.

In other words, if young men and women in Minnesota have social programs and opportunities to turn to, the allure of terrorist organizations will fade.

"Throwing kids in prison did not work," community activist Omar Jamal said outside of the Federal Courthouse in St. Paul Monday, echoing that train of thought. "It didn't prevent this from happening again, so I think there has to be some other ways to handle the kids."

KSTP

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