A Minneapolis woman is struggling to understand why her son was arrested Sunday on terrorism charges, saying he assured her many times that he was not involved in such activities.
Fudamo Hussein said in media interviews that she does not believe her son, 20-year-old Guled Omar, should have been arrested.
Federal authorities arrested Omar and five other Minnesota men Sunday and charged them with trying to travel to Syria to join the terrorist group ISIL.
"He was just a normal kid," Hussein said of her son in an interview with WCCO. "They took him for no reason."
Omar's older brother, Ahmed Ali Omar, left Minnesota in 2007 to join another terror group, al-Shabab, and Hussein told the Star Tribune she has not heard from him since then.
Hussein told the newspaper she repeatedly told her youngest son, who works at Target and is a part-time college student, to stay clear of al-Shabab or ISIL, and he repeatedly assured her that he was not involved.
But federal authorities paint a much different picture of Guled Omar, saying he and the other men planned together to leave the U.S. to fight with the terrorists in Syria and Iraq.
Authorities monitored the activities of the six men for 10 months. Omar tried on at least three occasions to travel to Syria since 2012, but was stopped each time before leaving the country, according to the criminal complaint released Monday.
U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger said in a news conference Monday that Omar's arrest was significant because of those previous attempts.
"Nothing stopped these defendants from pursuing their goal. They never stopped plotting another way to get to Syria to join ISIL," Luger said, according to WCCO. "They were not confused young men, they were not easily influenced. These are focused men who were intent on joining a terrorist organization by any means possible."
Hussein, 48, faces more turmoil; her landlord is evicting the family from their apartment because of the legal troubles of her sons.
The next court hearing in the cases against the men is Thursday.
More state funds to combat terrorist recruitment
In the wake of the arrests of the suspected terrorists, a Minnesota House committee Monday approved a significant increase funding to help combat terrorist recruitment in Minnesota, according to the Star Tribune.
The measure, sponsored by Rep. Phyllis Kahn, DFL-Minneapolis, calls for a $250,000 increase in funds for the Department of Public Safety, which will be used to discourage Minnesotans from joining terrorist groups such as ISIL and al-Shabaab. It was approved by the House Ways and Means Committee Monday evening.