Five Minnesota men suspected of trying to join ISIS will stay in custody


Five Minnesota men accused of attempting to join the Islamic State terrorist group will be kept in custody pending trial.

However, Chief U.S. District Judge Michael Davis said he would be open to less restrictive options of holding the men – who are all charged with conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist association – if any suitable ideas are put forward, the Associated Press notes.

The men, of Somali descent, are Adnan Abdihamid Farah, 19; Zacharia Yusuf Abdurahman, 19; Hanad Mustafe Musse, 19; Guled Ali Omar, 20; and Hamza Naj Ahmed, 19.

Judge Davis told attorneys to come up with plans to support their clients' release pending trial, because as things stand he said no conditions could reasonably ensure the community's safety or guarantee that they won't flee, AP notes.

While Ahmed was arrested earlier this year, the others who appeared in court Tuesday are among six Somali-Americans from Minnesota charged following a series of arrests in April.

The two other Minneapolis men, Mohamed Abdihamid Farah, 21, and Abdurahman Daud, 21, also face charges after they were arrested in San Diego, KSTP reports.

WCCO reports that there were at least 100 family and community members at Tuesday’s hearings in Minneapolis, as well as heavy security.

Teen terror suspect breaks halfway house rules, back in custody

One of the options that could be considered is to place the men in a halfway house facility until they stand trial.

This is what happened with Minneapolis teenager Abdullahi Yusuf, who was placed in Heartland Democracy’s program as he awaits sentencing for conspiring to support terrorists in the Middle East.

Yusef was returned to federal custody Monday since he broke some of the conditions of his placement, WCCO reports.

Yusuf was sent to the halfway house on the judge's orders as a way to reintegrate him back into society, by having him tell his story to discourage others from joining radical groups, the New York Times explained.

It's not clear what he did that led to his return to custody. At the time of his trial in January, MPR News reported Yusuf would be required to wear a GPS ankle bracelet and refrain from going online or using a cell phone.

In May of 2014, Yusuf, a student at Inver Grove Community College, was stopped from boarding a flight to Turkey by FBI agents at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

Earlier this spring, Heartland Democracy wrote it would keep working with Yusuf while he was at the halfway house. It's unclear if the program is still available for Yusuf.

Suspects enrolled at MCTC

The Wall Street Journal reports the April 20 arrests of the six Somali-Americans now charged with conspiring to join the Islamic State has created a "puzzle (that) is particularly hard to answer at Minnesota Community & Technical College ... where five of them had studied."

The story notes that while none of the students had completed a degree, two of the six were enrolled at MCTC in downtown Minneapolis at the time of the April arrests; three others had attended within the past two years.

Citing charging documents, the Journal story added at least one of the students used his student loan account to finance a plan to travel to Syria.

“If a few young people in Minnesota have an idea that life with ISIS is better than life in Minnesota, then that is on us, that is our collective failure,” MCTC professor Matthew Palombo, an adviser to the campus’s Muslim Student Association, told the Journal.

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