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Monday, September 20, 2010

US Indictments for Support of al Shabaab Terrorists

Originally published on 5 August, 2010.

(AP) MINNEAPOLIS - The federal government charged 14 people Thursday, including two women from Rochester, Minnesota, with supporting the terrorist group al-Shabaab in Somalia.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder called the cases in Minnesota, California and Alabama a “deadly [pipeline” of terrorist support.

He credited leaders in Muslim communities in the U.S. for helping law enforcement agencies address the problem and bring the cases to prosecution.

One of two indictments issued in Minnesota alleges that two Somali women and others went door-to-door in Minneapolis, Rochester and elsewhere in the U.S. and Canada to raise funds for al-Shabaab's operations in Somalia.

The indictment says the women raised the money under false pretenses, claiming it would go to the poor and needy, and used fake names for recipients to conceal that the money was going to al-Shabaab.

The indictment alleges the women, Amina Farah Ali and Hawo Mohamed Hassan, also raised money by making direct appeals to people in teleconferences "in which they and other speakers encouraged financial contributions to support violent jihad in Somalia."

During one teleconference, the indictment says, Ali told others "to forget about the other charities" and focus on "the Jihad."

Ali is accused of sending $8,608 to al-Shabab on 12 different occasions between Sept. 17 2008 through July 5, 2009.

After the FBI searched Ali's home in 2009, she allegedly contacted an al-Shabab leader in southern Somalia and said: "I was questioned by the enemy here. ... they took all my stuff and are investigating it ... do not accept calls from anyone."

The U.S. "must prevent this kind of captivation from taking hold," Holder said.

Most of the people charged are U.S. citizens.

  • Some supported the terrorist organization from the United States and others traveled to Somalia to join up with al-Shabaab.
  • The indictment says Ali and others sent the funds to al-Shabaab through various hawalas, money transfer businesses that are a common source of financial transactions in the Islamic world.
  • Minneapolis Somali community advocate Omar Jamal said Thursday he was happy to hear of the indictments."We welcome this as a positive step toward the beginning of the defeat of al-Shabab," Jamal said.
  • Amina Farah Ali and Hawo Mohamed Hassan were scheduled to make an initial court appearance at 2 p.m. Thursday in St. Paul.

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