A Minnesota teenager who became the leader of an Islamic State terror cell is telling the world how he got to that point.
Abdirizak Warsame, 21, of Minneapolis, shared his story on 60 MinutesSunday night (watch the episode below). Earlier this year, he pleaded guilty to conspiring to help the Islamic State – he was one of 11 men from the Twin Cities charged in connection to the investigation.
"The reason I wanted to go to Syria was I felt like it was my duty," Warsame told 60 Minutes. "I felt like it was something that I had to do. And if I didn't do it, I would be basically a disgrace to God. I would be a disgrace to the world. I would be a disgrace to my family."
Warsame grew up in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis. MN Compass says about 45 percent of the residents in the neighborhood are foreign-born, and more than half speak a language other than English. It comprises one of the largest Somali populations in the entire country.
Warsame told 60 Minutes he grew up divided in two different worlds and started attending the local mosque. After finding more videos from English-speaking imams online, he found YouTube videos by Anwar al-Awlaki – a leading spiritual advisor for al Qaeda.
Then, in 2014, he devised a plan to travel to Syria to fight with the Islamic State, and he helped his friends get passports to travel there. Warsame was charged in December 2015, he'll be sentenced next month to up to 15 years in prison.
And he has a message for the young men who are watching those same YouTube videos: "It's not worth it. It's not worth your family going through all the pain and suffering just because you believe in something that is total nonsense. That doesn't make sense. It's not worth your life."
The Star Tribune says Warsame has also detailed his life and what led to his radicalization in an unpublished book. Read more about that here.