- Associated Press - Friday, May 22, 2015

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - A federal judge on Friday ordered a Minnesota man held without bail after he was accused of trying to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State group.

Abdirahman Yasin Daud, 21, is one of six Minnesotans arrested last month on charges of conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization. He was one of two defendants apprehended in San Diego, where they allegedly tried to get fake passports so they could travel overseas via Mexico.

Daud pleaded not guilty at the detention hearing, where the chief U.S. district judge for Minnesota, Michael Davis, ruled that there was no set of conditions he could impose that would protect the public safety and ensure that Daud makes his court appearances. But Davis said he was open to revisiting the issue if the defense and local Somali community leaders can develop a suitable program for ensuring Daud’s appearances and protecting the public.

Davis cited a memo filed by prosecutors a day earlier, which said Daud told a confidential informant in a recorded conversation that he’d “spit on America” at the U.S.-Mexico border crossing. Daud also allegedly said that his family knew he was going to Syria and they “won’t say a word.” He allegedly said he planned to get an assault rifle once he got to Syria and become a martyr.

Defense attorney Bruce Nestor argued that prosecutors had failed to show that Daud posed any threat to anyone. Nestor also condemned prosecutors for “waiving the bloody flag of terrorism.” He said the government has the “unrebuttable power” to designate any foreign group it wants as a terrorist organization, yet does nothing to stop Americans from leaving to defend Israel or to fight as “Christian warriors” in Iraq against the Islamic State.

The Minneapolis area is home to the largest Somali community in the U.S. Authorities have said a handful of Minnesota residents have traveled to Syria to fight for militant groups, and that at least one has been confirmed dead.

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