Yes, you are reading the headline correctly, a newly elected United States House member from Minnesota advocated for lenient sentences for 9 men trying to Join ISIS.
According to Fox News, embattled congressional freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., once asked a judge to show leniency toward a group of Minnesota men accused of trying to join the Islamic State terror group.
“The best deterrent to fanaticism is a system of compassion,” she wrote at the time. “We must alter our attitude and approach; if we truly want to effect change, we should refocus our efforts on inclusion and rehabilitation.”
The nine Minnesota men were facing decades in prison after being accused in 2015 of making plans, including buying fake passports, in an effort to travel to Syria and fight for ISIS, which was at its peak level of activity and held territory in Syria and Iraq.
Omar, who was then a Minnesota state representative, was part of a group that sent letters to Judge Michael Davis urging him to give shorter sentences, arguing that harsher penalties would only lead to more people joining the terror group.
“Incarcerating 20-year-old men for 30 or 40 years is essentially a life sentence. Society will have no expectations of the to-be 50- or 60-year-old released prisoners; it will view them with distrust and revulsion,” read Omar’s letter to the judge, as obtained by FOX 9 of Minneapolis-St. Paul.
“Such punitive measures not only lack efficacy, they inevitably create an environment in which extremism can flourish, aligning with the presupposition of terrorist recruitment,” she added.
One of the defendants had this to say during his hearing:
“I was not going there to pass out medical kits or food. I was going strictly to fight and kill on behalf of the Islamic State.”
The question we must ask is why someone who clearly has demonstrated a soft side for a ruthless killing force like ISIS was elected to the United States House of Representatives. Was she even properly vetted?