Terror recruiter and financier sentenced in Minneapolis
Al-Shabaab has been able to wreak havoc in Somalia because of its combustible mix of money and jihadist ideology. Unfortunately, some of al-Shabaab’s revenues originated from donations bundled together by terrorist supporters in Minnesota such as Amina Farah Ali and Omer Abdi Mohamed.
Here’s the latest from Minneapolis:
Four men in Minnesota sentenced to prison for aiding Somali rebel group
MINNEAPOLIS | Tue May 14, 2013
(Reuters) – A federal judge sentenced four men to prison on Tuesday for helping recruit young men in Minnesota to travel to Somalia and fight for the militant group al Shabaab.
Investigators believe about 20 young, ethnic Somali men left Minnesota from 2007 to 2009 to go to Somalia to fight for al Shabaab, which the United States designated a terrorist organization.
Three men who cooperated with investigators were each sentenced to three years and a fourth man was sentenced to 12 years in prison.
“These defendants, by providing material support to a designated terrorist organization, broke both the law and the hearts of family members across the Twin Cities,” U.S. Attorney B. Todd Jones said in a statement.
Eighteen men were charged after a four-year investigation. Eight were convicted and the rest are thought to be fugitives or to have been killed in Somalia while fighting for al Shabaab.
On Tuesday, Omer Abdi Mohamed, 28, was sentenced to 12 years in prison after pleading guilty in July 2011 to one count of conspiring to provide material support to co-conspirators who intended to murder, kidnap, or maim Ethiopian and Somali government troops.
Mohamed, of Minneapolis, admitted that he helped recruits get plane tickets and helped to raise money for them to travel to Somalia to fight with al Shabaab in 2007.
Three men who cooperated with investigators were each sentenced to three years in prison by Chief Judge Michael Davis in Minneapolis federal court…
How exactly did Mohamed raise the money for the recruits? From the trial brief:
…The defendant and his conspirators went to local malls and apartment buildings to ask for money, claiming it would be used to build a mosque or to assist with relief efforts in Somalia. In fact, the money was to pay for the airfare and travel expenses of the group of men to join in the conspiracy…
If these Somali fellows had to do all this legwork to finance their travel to Somalia, it makes one wonder how Tamerlan Tsarnaev secured funding to travel to Dagestan. Public benefits and proceeds from casual drug sales may have been insufficient, and Tsarnaev didn’t have access to community donations in the same way the Minnesota Somalis have had. Did Tsarnaev’s in-laws unwittingly pay for his trip?