Teen to Terrorist: Recruiting Grounds
One of the teenagers convicted for trying to join ISIS says Minnesotans should be afraid of attacks because the terrorist organization is targeting the Twin Cities area.
“We should be scared because of all these youth leaving from Minnesota,” 20-year-old Adnan Farah said.
Farah spoke with 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS on the phone from the Sherburne County Jail, where he is awaiting sentencing on Nov. 15.
He agreed to give insight into the the recruiting ISIS is doing in Minnesota to steal more young lives like his.
Government officials have warned that Minnesota has a terror recruiting problem.
“Watching videos of companionship and brotherhood kind of reeled me in, tugged at me to go that way,” Farah said.
Farah went from teen to terrorist without ever leaving home.
“Throughout the whole propaganda, they start out by saying, ‘It’s OK. You are lost for identity,’” Farah said.
Farah called the recruiting effort by ISIS in Minnesota “very extensive.”
“They put into their videos mapping Minnesota on their maps," Farah said. "The whole jihadi world sees the devotion and dedication of the Minnesota youth and (ISIS) decided to target us,” Farah said.
Farah says while the young men and women arrested for planning acts of terrorism, but we may not know about many more who left to join ISIS.
“Today’s biggest recruiter is the Internet," Farah said. "A kid doesn’t have to sit down and listen to anybody anymore. All he has to do is go on his phone, go to Twitter, go to Facebook or go to YouTube.”
The government knows ISIS is actively recruiting in Minnesota, but Farah’s lawyer says the detailed information Farah gave the United States should flag FBI agents.
“That’s chilling,” Farah’s attorney, Kenneth Udoibok, said. “I was surprised that Minnesota is fertile ground for ISIL recruitment.”
The road to radicalization ended in jail for Farah. He was arrested in April 2015 and pleaded guilty to conspiracy to provide material support to ISIS.
The federal judge in his case hired a German deradicalization expert to assess him and five other defendants.
"We were all radicalized," Farah said.
Daniel Koehler says Farah is a medium-to-high risk for going back to his radical ideology. However, he also recommended Farah get a shorter prison sentence and that he spend time in a halfway house.
“It is possible for even really convinced, hardcore radicals, after a certain amount of time, to develop a doubt in the ideology,” Koehler said.
Farah says people have a right to believe or have the assumption he is a danger to the world.
“I want to say to them, to put their children in the shoes I’m in,” Farah said. “What if their children were watching these videos and were brainwashed? What if their kids were in the same situation? How would they feel?”
Farah says ISIS will keep recruiting Minnesota teens and the call to terror won’t stop.
"More than 20 (teens) have joined al-Shabab, so I believe (recruiting) is working," Farah said.
But Farah says the government can stop the sell that lures teens to become terrorists, and he can help.
He wants to assist the government in stopping ISIS from taking more young men and women from our backyard.
"They need…people like me who can reach out to these kids," Farah said.
Part V Preview
See why Farah says the government needs to take him up on his offer if they want to save teens in the Twin Cities.