New York City leaders met with leaders from the Uzbek and Kazakh community on Thursday, to promote non-violence in the wake of the arrests of 2 men charged with plotting to help the Islamic State group.
The men were among three charged Wednesday with attempt and conspiracy to provide material support to a terrorist organization.
Akhror Saidakhmetov, 19, was arrested at Kennedy Airport, where he was attempting to board a flight to Istanbul, with plans to head to Syria, authorities said. Another man, 24-year-old Abdurasul Hasanovich Juraboev, had a ticket to travel to Istanbul next month and was arrested in Brooklyn, federal prosecutors said. The two were held without bail after a brief court appearance.
A third defendant, Abror Habibov, 30, is accused of helping fund Saidakhmetov's efforts. He was ordered held without bail in Florida.
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams told reporters at Thursday's press conference a common thread among those being recruited to join the Islamic State group is that they are young.
"They appear to young. They appear to be misguided," Adams said, "those who go too far must be arrested. But those who are being fed this information and we can save we need to do all that we can to save them."
If convicted, each man faces a maximum of 15 years in prison.
Farhod Sulton, president of the Brooklyn-based Vatandosh Uzbek-American Federation, said there is a big "culture shock" when Muslims move to the United States.
Sulton said he believes some "abuse their freedom of expression, freedom of religion and there is no tight control over the communities. They get together. They talk things. And they discuss. And because of this freedom, I think they start to abuse this freedom."
The Islamic State group largely consists of Sunni militants from Iraq and Syria but has also drawn fighters from across the Muslim world and Europe.
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