Lansing man who pledged allegiance to ISIS sentenced for trying to help his cousin join

Mohamed Haji sentenced to 130 months in federal prison


LANSING, Mich. – A Lansing man who has pledged his allegiance to ISIS has been sentenced to 130 months in prison for trying to help his cousin formally join the terrorist organization, federal officials said.

Mohamed Salat Haji,  28, of Lansing, is accused of trying to help his cousin, Muse Muse, take a series of flights that would have ended in Mogadishu, Somalia, to join ISIS.

Between December 2018 and January 2019, Muse coordinated with someone he believed to be a Somali ISIS fighter to wire funds for airline tickets to travel to Mogadishu, according to authorities.

Muse believed once he arrived in Mogadishu, he would meet an ISIS representative.

Haji, Muse Muse and their relative, Mohamud Muse, were involved in the scheme, federal officials allege.

Authorities said the three men picked up money to provide Muse Muse with the funds to travel and formally join ISIS. They all pledged allegiance to the terrorist organization in recorded videos and submitted those videos to people they believed were associated with ISIS, court records state.

At Haji’s sentencing, records were provided that showed that since January 2017, the three had all participated in conversations about traveling overseas to join ISIS, officials said. They even adopted fighter aliases to use while fighting for ISIS, according to authorities.

Haji was arrested Jan. 21, 2019, at Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids after helping Muse Muse check in for his first flight in the series that would have eventually brought him to Mogadishu, officials said.

Mohamud Muse was also arrested for conspiring to provide material support to ISIS, authorities said.

In June 2021, Haji pleaded guilty to conspiring to provide material support to ISIS and admitted that he knew ISIS was designated as a foreign terrorist organization, according to federal officials.

Haji also admitted that the people he conspired with were his relatives, Muse Muse and Mohamud Muse.

Haji was sentenced Wednesday (Sept. 22) to 130 months in federal prison and 12 years of supervision following his release. Government officials were seeking a 240-month prison sentence.

Muse Muse was sentenced in Augustin 2021 to 78 months in prison. Mohamud Muse was sentenced to serve 98 months in prison.

Haji is the third and final person to be charged in the case, federal authorities said.

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Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.