Back in 2016, Democratic Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar wrote a letter to a judge requesting a more lenient sentence on behalf of a Minnesota man who was accused of trying to join ISIS.
Abdirahman Yasin Daud was one of two young men arrested in San Diego in April 2015. They were a part of a larger group of nine that was arrested for trying to join ISIS. Daud specifically was caught trying to buy fake passports in order to travel to Syria. Federal prosecutors requested Daud spend 30 years in prison followed by a lifetime of supervised release.
Omar was one of the 13 people to write letters to Judge Michael Davis on Daud’s behalf. Minneapolis City Council member Abdi Warsame, a Minneapolis Public Schools dean of students, several youth program coordinators and Daud’s own mother and brother also wrote letters according to Fox9. (RELATED: Rep. Omar Acknowledges ‘Unknowingly’ Using ‘Anti-Semitic Trope’ In 2012)
CBS4 also reported at the time that text messages from Daud to a terrorist in Syria detail a very specific plan, including what their alibis should be.
“Incarcerating 20-year-old men for 30 or 40 years is essentially a life sentence. Society will have no expectations of the to be 50 or 60-year-old released prisoners; it will view them with distrust and revulsion,” Omar’s letter to the judge read. “Such punitive measures not only lack efficacy, they inevitably create an environment in which extremism can flourish, aligning with the presupposition of terrorist recruitment.” (RELATED: Rep. Omar Defends Tweet Claiming ‘Israel Has Hypnotized The World,’ Says It’s Not About Religion)
The best deterrent to fanaticism is a system of compassion. We must alter our attitude and approach; if we truly want to affect change, we should refocus our efforts on inclusion and rehabilitation. A long-term prison sentence for one who chose violence to combat direct marginalization is a statement that our justice system misunderstands the guilty. A restorative approach to justice assesses the lure of criminality and addresses it.
The entire letter can be read on Fox9.
Daud ended up being sentenced to 30 years in prison by Judge Davis after being found guilty of conspiring to provide material support to a terrorist organization, and conspiring to commit murder overseas.
“I’m certainly not being persecuted for my faith. I was certainly not entrapped,” Daud stated during the proceedings, according to the Associated Press. “I was not going there to pass out medical kits or food. I was going strictly to fight and kill on behalf of the Islamic State.”