2 American Women Guilty of Fundraising for Al-Shabab

Posted October 20th, 2011 at 2:10 pm (UTC-5)
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Two American women who claimed they were collecting money for charity could soon be spending substantial time in prison for supporting Somali militants.

Jurors Thursday in Minneapolis, Minnesota convicted 35-year-old Amina Farah Ali and 64-year-old Hawo Mohamed Hassan of conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization.

Prosecutors said the two women funneled collections from their Somali community to the al-Qaida linked al-Shabab militant group in Somalia.

The U.S. government said it wiretapped Ali's home and cellular phones over a 10-month period, monitoring some 30,000 calls. Court documents say investigators also searched the trash outside Ali's apartment dozens of times.

Officials said Ali sent more than $8,600 to al-Shabab beginning in 2008. Prosecutors claimed the money was used to help at least 20 men travel from Minnesota to Somalia to join al-Shabab.

The women are among 20 people accused of taking part in the scheme to support the group. Some of them have pleaded guilty, while others await trial or remain fugitives.

Al-Shabab is fighting to overthrow Somalia's fragile transitional government in a bid to impose a strict form of Sharia, or Islamic law. The group recently pulled its fighters from the Somali capital of Mogadishu but continues to hold large sections of southern and central Somalia.