On Friday, a former research coordinator at the Mayo Clinic and resident physician from Pakistan was sentenced for his desire to aid terror groups.
On Friday in St. Paul, U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson handed down his verdict.
31-year-old Muhammad Masood had shown a great interest in joining the Islamic State and fighting for the organization in Syria, as well as in launching assaults against targets in the United States.
A year ago, Masood admitted to trying to aid a foreign terrorist group financially. According to the prosecution, he attempted but failed to fly from the United States to Syria through Jordan in 2020. Later, he agreed to take a flight from Minneapolis to Los Angeles to meet with someone he thought might help him board a cargo ship and go to an IS-controlled area.
On March 19, 2020, FBI agents detained him after checking in for his trip from Minneapolis.
Prosecutors claim that Masood entered the United States on a work visa. They alleged that he began making remarks to hired spies who he thought were IS members in January 2020 in which he pledged his fealty to the terrorist organization and its commander. The prosecution also stated his intent to commit lone wolf strikes inside the United States.
An FBI document from 2021 claims that investigators began looking into Masood after learning that he had sent encrypted social media chats in which he expressed a desire to aid IS. Masood contacted one of the platform’s sources and said he wanted to go to Iraq, Syria, Iran, or near Afghanistan in northern Iran to fight on the front lines and help the injured.
The Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, has verified that Masood formerly worked there. He was not, however, working there at the time of his detention, as was made clear.
Terrorist organizations have used Minnesota as a hub for recruitment. About 36 Minnesotans, primarily males from the Somali community, have gone abroad since 2007 to fight with al-Shabab, an affiliate of al-Qaida in East Africa, or other extremist organizations like the Islamic State in Syria. Several people have been convicted of terrorism-related crimes for their involvement with, or attempts to join, these organizations.
Judge Paul Magnuson gave the traitor 18 years in prison.