Yusuf graduated from Somali National University with a degree in education and history just before the civil war broke out in the early 90s. The violence forced him to flee his hometown and he came to the U.S. as one of the first few Somali war refugee in 1992. He found work in a turkey-packing factory in Minnesota and later married. Three years later, his first child Zacharia, was born in Minneapolis.
Prior to his arrest, Zacharia studied Computer Science at Minneapolis Community & Technical College, and was a volunteer for several charities including Habitat for Humanity. He worked on the night-shift as a guard for a women’s charity so he could pay for college and his family. Zacharia pled guilty to conspiracy to providing material support to ISIL in 2016, and was sentenced to 10 years in prison with 20 years of supervised release.