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Minneapolis Terrorism Trial Focuses on IS Recruitment

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In this image shot with an extreme telephoto lens and through haze from the outskirts of Suruc at the Turkey-Syria border, militants with the Islamic State group are seen after placing their group’s flag on a hilltop.

Three Somali-American men on trial in Minneapolis, Minnesota, face the possibility of 15 years to life in prison for allegedly conspiring to provide material support to the Islamic State group and commit murder outside the United States.  But the trial also brings into sharp focus the radical group’s global reach and concerns within the Somali-American community about judicial fairness and how that could affect collaboration with law enforcement.

Mohamed Abdihamid Farah and Abdurahman Yasin Daud, both in their early 20s, and Guled Ali Omar are among a group of Somali-American men the FBI tracked over a period of months starting in March 2014, when one member of the group aroused suspicion when he applied for an expedited passport to travel to Turkey, but was unable to answer basic questions about his planned trip.

Bob Fletcher, a former Ramsey County Sheriff in Minnesota and Director of the Center for Somali History Studies in Minneapolis, said the prosecution has a lot of evidence showing the men intended to leave the country to join the Islamic State group.