Three Muslim terrorists were sentenced to prison Tuesday for plotting to travel to Syria to join ISIS, as a federal judge concluded the second day of sentencings in a case that shined a light on terror recruiting in the state.
Adnan Farah, 20, and Hanad Musse, 21, were each sentenced to 10 years in prison for conspiring to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization. Hamza Ahmed, 21, was sentenced to 15 years in prison for that count and another count of financial aid fraud.
All three were also given at least 20 years of supervised release.
They are among nine men in Minnesota’s large Somali community who prosecutors say were part of a group of friends who inspired and recruited each other to join the terrorist group. Some of their friends made it to Syria, but the nine who were prosecuted did not.
Their sentencings come a day after three of their co-defendants were sentenced, including two who cooperated with authorities and were given lighter penalties. Farah, Musse, Ahmed, and the other man sentenced Monday all pleaded guilty but did not cooperate with prosecutors.
Three Muslims who went to trial and were convicted on a more serious charge of conspiracy to commit murder outside the U.S. will be sentenced Wednesday. That count carries a possible life sentence, but prosecutors are seeking sentences of 30 or 40 years.
At his hearing, Farah, whose older brother is among those to be sentenced Wednesday, criticized the Somali community for not taking radicalization seriously. But prosecutors said he was shifting blame.
U.S. District Judge Michael Davis addressed the courtroom and said he has no doubt there is a jihadi cell in Minneapolis. He also addressed Farah’s parents, telling them their children lied.
“I would never want to be in your place, having two sons that are going to go to prison,” Davis said.
During his hearing, Musse apologized for lying to his family and said he committed a serious offense. The judge asked Musse directly whether he was a terrorist, and Musse replied: “I am a terrorist, your honor.”
Musse, Ahmed and two other Muslims took a Greyhound bus from Minneapolis to New York in November 2014 and were stopped by federal agents as they tried to travel overseas from JFK Airport, according to authorities. The Muslim terrorists were being watched as part of an ongoing investigation into terror recruiting.
The investigation into terror recruiting in Minnesota is ongoing. The state has the largest concentration of Somali immigrants in the U.S. —numbering 57,000, according to U.S. Census data — which has been a target for recruiters. The FBI has said about a dozen people have left Minnesota to join terrorists groups in Syria in recent years. Before that, more than 22 Muslims were recruited to al-Shabab in Somalia since 2007.
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