In sentencing nine young Somali-Minnesotans on terror conspiracy charges this week, U.S. District Judge Michael Davis closed a chapter in the federal government’s long, extraordinary investigation of ISIL recruitment in Minnesota.
But the full story is far from over.
In nine hearings over three days before a courtroom packed with the families of the young men who sought to give their lives to ISIL, Davis repeatedly underlined a clear message: There is a terrorist cell in Minneapolis and it is still alive today.
Each day, Davis sought to extract acknowledgment from the young men that they were “terrorists,” and left no doubt as to his thoughts on whether they were simply misguided youths.
“Everyone talks about Brussels or Paris having cells,” Davis said one day, then, raising his voice: “We have a cell here in Minneapolis.”
Saying the Minnesota public had “danced around” the issue, Davis described the cell’s size as being between nine to 20, including those sentenced last week and others killed abroad.
Later in the week, he raised eyebrows in the courtroom by telling one defendant that he noted “six to 10” supporters who attended previous hearings and insisted that “some defendants gave them signals.”
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