With Jury Deliberation Set to Begin, MN Protests Entrapment of 3 Somali Youth

When: Tuesday, May 31st @ 5:00pm

Where: Outside US Federal Courthouse, 300 S 4th Street, Minneapolis

With the presentation of closing arguments from both the defense and prosecution expected for Tuesday in the case against Guled Omar, Abdirahman Daud, and Mohamed Farah, three young Somali men entrapped by the FBI, the Coalition to Defend the Muslim Community has called for a 5pm rally outside the federal courthouse. The rally aims to support the three men’s families who continue to be outspoken in the face of government repression, amplify voices against FBI entrapment and the targeting of Muslim youth under the Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) program, expose how this case fuels criminalization of the Somali community as a whole, and denounce US policies of war that continue to foment conflict in the Middle East and East Africa.

Late last week, defendant Guled Omar took the stand, sharing his life story and remaining strong and principled despite dirty tactics from Federal Prosecutor Winter. He talked about his family’s journey to the United States after fleeing the civil war in Somalia and living in a Kenyan refugee camp. A Minneapolis resident since age two, Omar described his love for sports, hip hop music, spending time on social media and socializing with friends. He talked about his concern for innocent Syrian people being victimized in the conflict stemming from his own family’s experience fleeing war. He described increasing levels of surveillance and intimidation throughout the timeline of the conspiracy, sharing how he felt criminalized despite knowing he had done nothing wrong. He talked about youthful boasting being part of a persona he built among friends, but described how no concrete action was planned until informant Bashir pressured his former friends into an FBI manufactured fake passport scheme. During the prosecution’s cross examination, it became clear that portions of allegedly incriminating audio did not match the transcript prepared with the aid of informant Bashir. The government has also sought to use the transcript of secretly recorded conversations out of context, making false connections to incriminate these young men.

This Tuesday’s rally will feature speeches from family members, community members from the anti-war movement and movement against police killings, and members of the local Somali community. Speakers will share about hopes for a just outcome as the jury begins to deliberate and the fear based climate of racism, xenophobia, and Islamophobia this case continues to fuel. One theme expected to arise from speakers is how the US government funds the criminalization of oppressed communities, while neglecting basic needs and community programs unless divide and conquer tactics can be covertly used. Speakers will attest to the central role FBI entrapment plays in such criminalization.

The Coalition to Defend the Muslim Community includes both community groups and organizations, namely the Anti-War Committee, Minnesotans against Islamophobia, the Global Somali Diaspora, among others. For more information on the case, please follow twitter handle @MnEntrappdYouth.