Minnesota Man Accused of Conspiring to Help Islamic State

10 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

10th Terror Suspect Arrested, Accused Of Helping Others Join ISIS.

A Minnesota man was arrested Wednesday night and accused of conspiring to help The Islamic State in Iran and the Levant (ISIL), the latest in a string of similar cases in the state.A 20-year-old Somali-American from Eagan was arrested by the FBI Wednesday night on charges of supplying material support to terrorists in Syria and Iraq, according to federal authorities and court documents. In this photo, a Shia Muslim holds a banner in protest against ISIS and the use of terrorism in the name of Islam during a religious procession of U.S. Authorities say Warsame encouraged his friends to travel, provided money for one of their passports, and tried to put them in touch with ISIS contacts.

Warsame aided several previously charged Twin Cities men in their attempts to leave the U.S. to fight for ISIS in Syria, according to a criminal complaint filed earlier Wednesday. According to the criminal complaint, Warsame was at one point the leader of a group of young, Somali-American from the Twin Cities who tried to flee the country in April to aid the terrorist organization in Iraq and Syria. According to an FBI special agent’s affidavit, one man who was planning to leave for Syria appointed Warsame to replace him as “emir,” or leader, of the group. “As the new emir, Warsame immediately encouraged those with passports and money to travel to Syria by the end of the upcoming summer,” the affidavit said. Prosecutors say his next plan was to join ISIS by traveling to Somalia with his family, break free from them, and head for Syria — or wait until he believed ISIS would expand to Somalia. He initially told the state department in his application that the passport was for a family trip to Britain, but later said in an interview with the State Department that the family was traveling to Australia.

According to court documents, cited by the Associated Press (AP), Warsame tried to help other men from the state’s Somali community reach Syria to fight alongside . The documents, which stated that nine others from that group have already been charged, allege that all of them planned to go to Syria through Mexico.

Court documents say some of the information gathered in the investigation that led to Warsame’s arrest came from one of the other nine suspects charged — Abdullahi Yusuf. Census numbers suggest that there are more than 125,000 Somalis living in the U.S., with nearly 40,000 of those in Minnesota, although some demographers have suggested the actual number in the state is higher. After arriving in the 1990s during Somalia’s civil war, they were funneled into the state’s experienced refugee agencies by aid workers and many were supported by welfare benefits more generous than other states.

To counter the disaffection that can make teens vulnerable to recruiters from ISIL and similar groups, community leaders have worked with the Justice Department to adapt gang intervention programs to do the same with countering the pull of overseas groups. Somali community leader Sadik Warfa told the Star-Tribune that he and others would increase efforts to tell the youth: “They are better if they stay here at home, get a decent education and embrace American life.” While acknowledging a recent increase in Islamophobia, Warfa said “A judge who will be independent will look at the evidence and decide where to go from there. Some of them communicated with ISIL members overseas, some took steps to get fake passports, and some played paintball to prepare for combat, prosecutors say. However, he did say that if the men’s defense attorneys were able to come up with a restrictive-enough plan that satisfied all parties, there was a chance the men could be granted conditional releases.

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