Congregations support imprisoned Somali men in Minnesota
Several churches in Minneapolis–St. Paul have funded in-prison education for young men convicted of ISIS involvement and also helped their families. It hasn't been without controversy.
In 2016 Abdirahman Daud was sentenced to prison for 30 years after he and several of his friends were convicted of plotting to leave the United States to join ISIS fighters in Syria. The men were arrested in San Diego in April 2015 before they had a chance to leave the country.
For the Somali community in Daud’s hometown of Minneapolis, the case is controversial. Many argue that the boys were entrapped by an FBI informant posing as jihadist.
“I just blindly followed everything that was told to me,” Daud said at his sentencing. Daud’s fiancé, Naema Ahmed, said he was only trying to escape FBI scrutiny. “We were all aware that he was being watched,” she said. Many Somalis question the length of the sentences imposed, since the men weren’t charged with actually harming anyone.