Minnesota: ISIS recruit put in halfway house, learning to mentor at-risk teens

Minnesota: ISIS recruit put in halfway house, learning to mentor at-risk teens

[Ed. – Fascinating.]

FBI agents intercepted 18-year-old Abdullahi Mohamud Yusuf of Minnesota at the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport last May while en route to Syria to join ISIS. He had obtained a passport under false pretenses, claiming that he wanted to visit Istanbul on vacation. He was later formally arrested and charged with conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization, and entered a guilty plea on Thursday.  He could spend up to 15 years in prison. …

He might not serve much prison time at any rate, as he is not in jail now; he has been “allowed to stay at a halfway house while his case has been pending, and is allowed to work with a group that promotes civic involvement as a way to keep youth engaged, with hopes of keeping him on a positive track and reintegrating him into society,” according to the AP.  No matter what sentence he receives, he will continue “working with coaches, and hopes to eventually continue his college studies.”

Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) described this halfway house program as “a very big bet on Yusuf” in a February 12 profile, but ventured that he might be “an ideal test case” for the program to pull radicalized Americans “back from the call of terror” and return them to their communities. …

A great deal of Yusuf’s supposedly perfect fit for this plan hinges on the perception that he is “closer to being a naive young person than someone who is already engaged in something that might be a threat to our community or people halfway around the world,” as Mary McKinley of the Heartland Democracy group put it.  The goal is to rehabilitate him to the point where he can “coach basketball, mentor other teens,” and “join a peer group of young Somali-Americans who can talk about the challenges of straddling two cultures,” the MPR report explains.

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