A fourth Minnesota man pleaded guilty Thursday to one count of plotting to provide material support and resources to the Islamic State group. Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame told the U.S. District Court that he was drawn by the idea of joining the group to create an Islamic caliphate.
Warsame told the court that he learned about Islam from YouTube videos and listening to lectures, including those of Anwar al-Awlaki, an American who joined al Qaeda and played a key role in the group till he was killed in 2011. The 20-year-old confessed that he was aware of the killings carried out by ISIS, but felt it was his duty to fight and help Muslims who were being oppressed, the Associated Press (AP) reported.
According to prosecutors, Warsame used to lead a group of friends in Minnesota’s Somali community who recruited and encouraged one another to join the Sunni militant group. Warsame is likely to face a maximum 15 years of imprisonment.
Sadik Warfa of Global Somali Diaspora expressed his frustration with plea deals, rather than trials, in the case. “We are 100 percent against any terrorism against any human being. We just repeat again that our community, we just want fairness. We want justice and what we are hoping that is that when this case begins, when the trial starts in May, that all the facts will come out,” Warfa said, according to local news network KARE 11.
U.S. Attorney Andrew M. Luger noted that ISIS recruiting in Minnesota was an “ongoing problem.” “One of the important factors we believe will help stop the recruiting pipeline is for those who have been charged to take responsibility for their crimes,” Luger said, in a statement.
Warsame's mother, Deqa Hussen, said she was not aware that her son was arranging to travel to Syria, but she learned about some of his friends in 2014 and sent him to Chicago to get him away from "bad influences," according to the AP. Hussen admitted that she was glad her son had the courage to tell the truth.
"When I find out some of the stuff that he did ... I commanded my son to tell the truth. And that's what he did," Hussen reportedly said. "I'm so proud of him for telling the truth."