Minnesota Man Sentenced on Terrorism Charges After Regreting Joining IS

The sentencing of a Minnesota man who went to Syria to fight with Islamic State was delayed on Wednesday after his hearing was postponed.

Abdelhamid Al-Madioum, 27, pleaded guilty in 2021 to providing material support for a terrorist group.

Al-Madioum was initially recruited by the Islamic State in 2014 when he was only 18 years old. The following year, while visiting Morocco with his family, Al-Madioum traveled to Syria where he fought for ISIS until he was badly injured in an explosion while fighting in Iraq.

Al-Madioum surrendered to US-backed rebels in 2019 and was held prisoner before he eventually returned to the United States the following year.

Court filings indicate that since his arrest by federal authorities, Al-Madioum has been cooperating with the US and its allies.

Prosecutors have recommended that Al-Madioum serve only 12 years in federal prison rather than the mandatory 20 years in recognition of both the seriousness of the charge and the assistance he has given to the US and its allies.

Al-Madioum’s attorney is seeking only seven years, arguing that his client rejected Islamic State’s extremist ideology long ago and has expressed remorse for joining the “death cult.”

In a letter sent to the federal judge overseeing his sentencing, Al-Madioum described his younger self as “ignorant, and misguided,” and insisted that he was changed by the experience and “treachery” he endured while fighting for the Islamic State.

Al-Madioum noted that after joining ISIS, he became a husband, a father of four, a prisoner of war, and “a malnourished supplicant.” He said he saw for himself the “pain and anguish” caused by terrorism and insisted that joining “a death cult” was “the biggest mistake of my life.”

The naturalized American citizen was one of many Minnesota residents suspected of leaving the country to fight for the Islamic State and other terrorist groups, including nine men who were sentenced in 2016 for conspiring to join ISIS.