Minnesota judge calls for rehab to aide one-time ISIS recruit; two more recruits sentenced

New York Daily News/November 14, 2016

By Elizabeth Elizalde

A Minnesota man who pleaded guilty to attempting to join ISIS was sentenced to serve time by a judge who said he hopes to see the man rehabilitated.

U.S. District Judge Michael Davis sentenced Abdullahi Mohamed Yusuf to serve time on top of the 21 months he's been in jail with an additional 20 years of probation for his role in supporting the Islamic State on Monday.

"It doesn't make sense for me to send him to prison," the judge said, according to CBS affiliate station WCCO-TV. "I think we'll miss the opportunity to help this young kid. I hope I'm not wrong."

Davis explained that sentencing Yusuf would benefit him since the government would miss a chance to help the 20-year-old.

Yusuf insisted that he no longer supports the jihadist group and that he's not the "same naïve 17-year-old" who believed in ISIS conspiracies, the station reported.

"ISlL's ideology is flawed," Yusuf said. "There is nothing Islamic about their so-called state."

Yusuf is the first of nine men on trial being sentenced in Minneapolis this week for allegedly providing information to the notorious militant group.

He pleaded guilty more than a year ago and also testified against some of his friends who engaged with ISIS.

Prosecutors sought 42 months for Yusuf, but U.S. Attorney Andy Luger praised him for his cooperation in the case and Davis for allowing him the chance to rehabilitate.

"The hard work of rehabilitating those who seek to engage in ideological violence must continue," Luger said in a statement.

Following Yusuf's sentencing, Abdirizak Warsame was the second man sentenced for conspiring to join ISIS.

The judge sentenced Warsame to 2 ½ years in prison. He said he didn't buy Warsame's story that he was manipulated and is no longer radical.

Zacharia Abdurahman, another alleged ISIS supporter, was sentenced to 10 years in prison, although the government had requested a 15-year penalty, according to The Star Tribune.

More than 25,000 Somali immigrants live in Minnesota, according to Census numbers, and the state has struggled with stopping young men from joining or recruiting to ISIS in recent years.

The FBI acknowledged that terror recruitment is a problem across the country and noted that it has 1,000 open cases in all 50 states.

ISIS claimed responsibility to a terror attack at the Crossroads Center mall in St. Cloud, Minn. in September, where police killed a knife wielding man, who was Somali-American, for wounding eight people.

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