You can’t make this stuff up: a convicted terrorist has been set free from jail and sent to a halfway house in St. Paul, Minnesota, for “rehab,” to “de-radicalize” him.
Abdullahi Yusuf, 19, was convicted of giving material support to terrorism–specifically, in Yusuf’s case, to ISIS. He was initially nabbed by the federal government in May 2014 when he tried to fly to Turkey, which has long been a meeting point for would-be terrorists, who can easily take a bus to the Turkey-Syria border to meet up with ISIS leaders.
Now, less than a year and a half after his arrest, Yusuf is a free man–so long as he reports to a halfway house, Heartland Democracy, and agrees to meet with one of their counselors, who will apparently help him unlearn all of his terrorist teachings.
Except there’s one problem (aside from the obvious, which allows terrorists to roam free): Heartland Democracy, the halfway house where Yusuf has been assigned, has absolutely no experience in counterterrorist psychology.
According to the Daily Beast, which first broke the story, the halfway house counselor’s curriculum “looked more like a high-school civics course than religious deprogramming.”
Even Heartland Democracy’s director, Mary McKinley, said she wasn’t exactly sure why they had been assigned Yusuf, considering their lack of experience. But she stressed that, in their proposal, one of Heartland’s first objectives is to “coach our youth in deep understanding and sustained civic empowerment…” The proposal did not include information on how Yusuf would be declared terror-free.
So, basically, the United States’s latest counterterrorism plan in the age of Obama? Teach would-be terrorists a lesson in civics, and then let them go on their merry way.
Yusuf doesn’t seem to be making much progress: a boxcutter was found in his room, and court documents show that he has been meeting with religious leaders.
McKinley explained that away: “There hasn’t been enough time yet to determine success.”
Yusuf is, so far, the only terrorist in “rehab”–but he might not be alone. At least three other men, also arrested for supporting ISIS, filed proposals to have them released from jail (and into a halfway house) as well.