A Minnesota man who pleaded guilty Thursday to conspiring to provide material support to the Islamic State attended a radical mosque in Bloomington known for producing jihadists.
Adnan Abdihamid Farah, 20, faces up to 15 years in prison but avoided a possible life sentence when three other counts were dropped.
Farah is one of five men in a group of Somali Americans – all either refugees or sons of refugees – who the government charged in the case.
Farah was the only one of the five who was not accused of trying to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State, also called ISIS, but admitted he was communicating with an ISIS operative in Syria and intended to do so.
Adnan Farah’s older brother, Mohamed Abdihamid Farah, 22, is among the other four defendants who are scheduled to go on trial May 9.
A total of 10 Somalis from Minnesota have been charged with conspiracy to provide material support to ISIS. Five have now pleaded guilty, one has fled and his whereabouts unknown. Another dozen or so Minnesota Muslims, almost all of them of Somali origin, have traveled to Syria to join Sunni rebel groups since 2012.
Adnan Farah said his parents confiscated his passport when it came in the mail. He then put a $100 down payment on a fake passport and also tried to help a co-defendant get one.
Another 22 young Somali men have left Minnesota since 2007 to join al-Shabab, an al-Qaida-linked terrorist group seeking to take over Somalia.
Adnan Farah, who was born in the U.S. to Somali refugee parents, told the court he took no interest in al-Shabab but had watched “at least 100” ISIS propaganda videos on Youtube. Some of the videos depicted atrocities committed by Syrian government forces on Sunni Muslims.
“Taking it in with an open heart. That’s how, I guess, I formed my conclusions,” he told the court, according to an Associated Press report. He said his faith led him to believe he was obligated to help other Muslims in need.
Mosque sows seeds of violence
And where did Adnan Farah and his brother get their views about Islam?
Both attended the al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington, Minnesota, a mosque headed by radical Imam Waleed Idris al-Meneesey.
John Guandolo, a former FBI counter-terrorism specialist who founded Understanding the Threat in an effort to train U.S. law enforcement officers, said he is very familiar with the Bloomington mosque.
Guandolo said al-Maneesey teaches straight from the Quran and the life of Muhammad, Islam’s founder, as laid out in the hadiths.
“When Imam al-Meneesey calls for the killing and destruction of Jews and references a story from the Islamic prophet Mohammad, he is referring to the hadith (report) from Bukhari, who is the most authoritative hadith scholar in all of Islam,” Guandolo told WND. “To be clear, Islamic scholars consider the hadith of Bukhari to rise to a level just below the Quran.”
In that hadith, Bukhari quotes Mohammad as stating:
“The hour of judgment will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them. It will not come until the Jew hides behind rocks and trees. It will not come until the rocks or the trees say, ‘O Muslim! O servant of God! There is a Jew behind me. Come and kill him.”
This hadith is among the most authoritative Islamic texts, Guandolo said, which is why it can be found in the Hamas Covenant as well as in first grade text books in Islamic schools.
“The reason the al-Farooq mosque is producing jihadis who want to fight and kill Jews in the name of Allah is because that is what the mosque teaches,” said Guandolo, author of “Raising a Jihadi Generation.”
And it’s not just the Bloomington mosque that is teaching this doctrine.
80 percent of U.S. mosques preaching radical theology
Of the nearly 3,000 mosques now operating inside the United States, at least 80 percent have ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, a radical jihadist organization whose stated mission is to spread Shariah throughout the Western world.
“Since we know most of the mosques in America teach this same material as well, we should be aware that someday soon, many thousands of Muslims will wage war against the United States and its people just like they teach they should,” Guandolo said.
“To believe otherwise would be foolish,” he added. “Yet, many people appear to have learned nothing from the attacks in Brussels, Paris, Boston, San Bernadino, Chattanooga, New York, Las Vegas, Ohio, Fort Hood….
“I guess they don’t believe they have enough ‘evidence’ yet to render an understanding of what they are witnessing.
“Al-Farooq is one dangerous place. Unfortunately, there are thousands of other mosques, Islamic Centers and Islamic organizations across North America, Europe and elsewhere teaching the same thing.”
According to court documents, Adnan Farah intended to plead guilty after his arrest last year, and urged two co-defendants to do the same, but he changed his mind after his imam persuaded his family that the defendants should stick together and go on trial, AP reported.
In the end, he took the original plea deal offered by the government. “This is the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make,” he said in court.
Besides the Farah brothers, at least three others charged with terrorist-related activity have also come out of the al-Farooq mosque in Bloomington.
One of the al-Farooq adherents was a Somali girl named Yusra Ismail.
Ismail was described in a 2015 Minneapolis Public Radio story as a quiet and soft-spoken teen who regularly donned the niqab, covering all of her face except for her eyes. She tended a community garden and volunteered at her family’s mosque in St. Paul before she “switched to a new mosque in Bloomington.”
Her teachers at Lighthouse Academy of Nations, a Minneapolis charter school, remember a shy, kind student who never got in trouble.
But about two years before she left the country to join ISIS, Ismail joined al-Farooq mosque.
She studied Arabic and the Quran at the Islamic school inside the mosque.
“She gradually became fixated on memorizing the Quran,” MPR News reported. Ismail’s sister told MPR her family feared she was taking her religious studies “too far, saying there was a lack of balance in her life.”
Ismail left the Twin Cities on Aug. 21, 2014.
Federal prosecutors said she boarded a plane to Norway using a passport she had stolen from a Minneapolis woman.
Ismail, then 19, called her family to say she was in Syria.
Imam teaches Shariah law above U.S. law
Al-Meneesey, the imam at al-Farooq mosque, has written that Muslims should place Shariah above “man-made” law.
During a November sermon al-Meneesy referred to a hadith describing how Jews had been punished by God repeatedly for “corruption.”
“When the Children of Israel returned to cause corruption in the time of our Prophet Muhammad,” al-Meneesy said in a translation by the Investigative Project on Terrorism, “and they disbelieved him, God destroyed him at his hand.”
History will repeat itself, he said.
Jerusalem “remained in the hands of the Muslims until it fell into the hands of the Jews in 1387 AH [1967 AD], and has been a prisoner in their hands for 34 years [sic], but the victory of God is coming inevitably.”
Al-Meneesy is also president and chancellor of the Islamic University of Minnesota. At least five young men and one young woman who attended his mosque have left the United States to fight with terrorist groups al-Shabaab and ISIS.
The university’s website boasts of recognition by Holy Quran University in the Sudan, which was founded in 1990 by the regime of Sudanese war criminal and President Omar al-Bashir.
The Islamic University of Minnesota also professes to serve as the official representative of Sunni Islam’s most important institution, Al-Azhar University, in the U.S. and Canada. Al-Azhar officials have refused to condemn the Islamic State as apostates and heretics.