Two Somali-American men sent to prison for supporting ISIS

Two Somali-American men in Minnesota sentenced for conspiring to support ISIS.

Ben Ariel ,

ISIS flag
ISIS flag

Two Somali-American men in Minnesota were sentenced on Tuesday for conspiring to support the Islamic State (ISIS) jihadist group, Reuters reported.

Senior U.S. District Judge Michael Davis sentenced Hamza Ahmed, 21, to 15 years in prison, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune newspaper.

In November 2014, Ahmed was pulled off a plane scheduled to travel from New York to Turkey, which people who have fought for ISIS have used as a gateway to Syria.

He was indicted in February 2015 on charges of conspiring to support ISIS and lying to federal agents investigating recruitment by militant groups, according to prosecutors.

He pleaded guilty in April, according to the Star Tribune.

A second man, 21-year-old Hanad Mustafe Musse, was sentenced to 10 years in prison following Ahmed's sentencing, according to Reuters.

Prosecutors accused Musse of trying to leave the United States twice to join ISIS, first in November 2014 in New York and again in April 2015 when he was arrested in Minnesota.

He pleaded guilty to the charges of attempting to support the Islamic State in September 2015.

In April of 2015, Musse was named as one of six Somali-American men from Minnesota who tried to join ISIS and were arrested on charges of conspiring to support a terrorist organization.

Ahmed and Musse are part of a larger group of nine Somali-American men who are being sentenced in Minnesota this week for conspiring to support ISIS, according to Reuters.

On Monday, three men were handed sentences ranging from time served to 10 years in prison.

The Minneapolis area is home to a large population of Somali expatriates. U.S. authorities have said dozens of young Somali-Americans have left the area since 2007 to join Al-Qaeda’s Somalia affiliate Al-Shabaab.

The cases are the latest examples of radicalization, a phenomenon which has plagued the United States as well as other Western countries.

Examples include a 16-year-old accused of planning to join the group and who was found guilty of illegal possession of a firearm in South Carolina, having been charged with this offense as South Carolina has no anti-terrorism laws.

In Arizona, a local man was charged in 2015 with supporting ISIS by helping a New York college student get terror training in Syria.

Also in Arizona, a local teenager was sentenced last week to eight years in prison for plotting an attack on government buildings and the Tucson Jewish Community Center.

The teenager, 18-year-old Mahin Khan, pleaded guilty to charges of terrorism, conspiracy to commit terrorism and conspiracy to commit misconduct involving weapons.

The FBI told the court during the trial that Khan had described himself in an email as an “American jihadist” who supports ISIS.