via The New York Times.
“If you integrate them back into their family relationships and you have responsible faith leaders, then that’s going to be the check on them that they need,” said Representative Keith Ellison, a Minnesota Democrat who is Muslim. “There’s going to be people watching them, encouraging them.”
It is likely in the mosques, under the watchful eye of “responsible faith leaders” that Muslims are funded and funneled out of Minnesota to jihadi zones around the world.
The three Minnesotans who appeared in court on Wednesday — Hamza Ahmed, 20; Zacharia Abdurahman, 19; and Hanad Musse, 19 — face federal charges of conspiracy and trying to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization. They could face decades in prison. They are believed to have traveled by bus to New York last year, where they each were prevented from leaving on overseas flights.
All three have pleaded not guilty, and prosecutors have opposed pretrial release.
“We recognize there are plenty of people who are well-meaning and interested in helping this person make a change,” Andrew R. Winter, the assistant United States attorney, said during one of Wednesday’s hearings. “This is not the time for that.”
Judge Davis said deradicalization was likely to be an important component of any release plan. He also said that any release would start at a halfway house, not living with relatives, as some of the lawyers suggested.
Are they going to de-radicalize the Koran? Mohammad’s history? Their current Deradicalization Program Failed, Minnesota Muslim Terror Suspect Re-Arrested.
“We have to be very careful,” Judge Davis said in court, “and I’m not going to allow anyone out at the first juncture to go home.”
Even with those caveats, there is limited precedent for considering pretrial release in these cases.
Alison Siegler, a clinical professor of law at the University of Chicago Law School and longtime federal criminal defense lawyer, said she could not recall a terrorism defendant who was granted pretrial release.
“Concerns about safety are usually the overriding concerns in these cases,” said Professor Siegler, who once represented a terrorism defendant in Chicago.
Judge Davis previously released one defendant to a halfway house after he pleaded guilty to similar charges. That man is back in jail after being found in violation of halfway house rules.
According to a February NPR report, authorities said 12 individuals with connections to the Minneapolis–Saint Paul area had traveled to Syria since 2013, while about a dozen additional people had attempted to travel to the Middle East or were planning to do so.
In April, six young men from the Minneapolis Somali community were apprehended by federal authorities for trying to join IS.
This wouldn’t be the first time Keith Hakim Ellison has advocated the release of known Muslim terrorists back into the U.S. In 2009, Rep. Ellison says U.S. trying to ensure safe return of Somali jihadis.
Congressman Keith Ellison thinks the U.S. should try to retrieve the Minnesotan men who may have been misled into joining Al-Shabaab and want out.
Congressman Ellison agrees that the U.S. government’s first responsibility is to protect its residents. But he also thinks if the recruits pose no threat to national security, they should be allowed to re-integrate into the American culture they left behind.
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