Skip to main content

Somalis rally at Capitol in support of arrested men's families

  • Author:
  • Updated:

About 100 members of the Somali community rallied at the Minnesota State Capitol Saturday to support the families of six young men who are charged with trying to join ISIS in Syria.

The demonstrators said they believe the suspects are being treated as though they are already guilty, and they're upset that the men will not be released from jail pending their trials, according to MPR News.

The six men, ages 19-21, were charged Monday with conspiracy to provide material support to a terrorist organization following a 10-month investigation that involved information from a paid confidential informant to the FBI. Four of the men were arrested in Minnesota and the other two in San Diego.

Federal officials claim the men tried on more than one occasion to travel to Syria and join the terrorist group ISIS.

“Even when their co-conspirators were caught and charged, they continued to seek new and creative ways to leave Minnesota to fight for a terror group,” U.S. Attorney Luger said in a news release.

Speakers at the rally claimed the men are innocent and believe they were set up, according to WCCO.

Abdullahi Salim, who said he's a friend of the suspects, told WCCO he doesn't believe they're involved in terrorism.

“I grew up here with them," he said. “These guys are really, really, really helpful guys. Whenever you need help, they’re the first guys you call for help.”

The mother of two of the suspects, Ayan Farah, also said her sons had never been in trouble with the law before, MPR News reports.

The Somali community has been critical of the arrests, and more than 200 people attended a court hearing for the suspects on Thursday.

Some have issued threats against the confidential informant, authorities said Thursday, and a Minneapolis man was charged Friday with making death threats against law enforcement officials who are handling the case, including Luger.

At Saturday's rally, participants said their protests would remain peaceful and disavowed those who were making threats.

They also called for leaders in the city and state to help the Somali community identify those who are convincing young men to become terrorists.

"This is not a problem for the Somalis. It's a Minnesota problem," said Mohamud Noor, one of the rally organizers, according to MPR. "We can defeat this process if we all come together."

U.S. prosecutors say dozens of people from Minnesota have gone overseas, or tried to, in support of the Islamic State. Other young Somali men were recruited to return to their homeland several years ago in support of another terrorist group, al-Shabab.

Next Up


Wild flip the script, dominate Blackhawks

Ryan Hartman scored twice to earn the first game of a back-to-back.

Hopkins Basketball

Hopkins suffers rare loss to No. 1 ranked Sidwell Friends

The Royals held their own in a battle of the nation's best.

argue-wertman booking photos

Charges: 2 teens responsible for violent carjacking spree across Twin Cities

They face a combined 31 felony counts, all tied to carjackings and related crimes.

rep nolan west mn house

MN rep. says he was 'assaulted' at activist group's public meeting

The Republican said a man grabbed his arms and yanked him from the room.

Screen Shot 2022-01-20 at 12.56.52 PM

What were the 'bizarre things' seen in Minnesota's sky?

The mysterious streaks were not UFOs and they weren't pieces of an asteroid.

icicles, freezing weather, cold weather

Booming noises in the night could be frost quakes

The loud sounds are most likely to happen during the middle of the night.

coronavirus, coronavirus test, covid-19

Free COVID testing site to open in St. Paul for 3 weeks

The federal testing site comes as demand for testing remains high.

Reyel Simmons photo 1 - complaint - crop

MN TikToker accused of faking federal agent life pleads guilty

He told his 10,000 followers he was a Homeland Security agent — authorities say it was a lie.


Report: Vikings request second interview with 2 GM candidates

Ryan Poles of the Chiefs and Kwesi Adofo-Mensah of the Browns.

Amaya Battle

Hopkins takes on No. 1 team in the country on ESPNU Friday

The game will feature a pair of top recruits in the Class of 2022.

st. paul federation of educators - teachers

Educators in Minneapolis, St. Paul could strike amid contract negotiations

Teachers and support staff are demanding smaller class sizes, mental health support and better pay.