Two female immigrants from Somalia living in the United States were convicted of giving material support to al-Shabaab, a designated Islamic terrorist organization.
Muna Osman Jama, 36, of Reston, Virginia and Hinda Osman Dhirane, 46, of Kent, Washington, were found guilty of conspiracy to provide material support to the Islamic terrorist group after a bench trial in front of U.S. District Judge Anthony J. Trenga, the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced.
“Providing material support to foreign terrorist organizations is a very serious crime,” said Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia in a statement. “These women funneled money to a terrorist organization which was conducting a violent insurgency campaign in Somalia.”
“National security is the top priority in this office and we will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners to investigate and prosecute those who provide material support to terrorists,” Boente continued.
“In addition to money they transferred in direct support of al-Shabaab, these subjects recruited, solicited, and advised an online group located in multiple countries as to how and where to transfer funds to this terrorist organization,” said Paul Abbate, the assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office.
“In coordination of the group, these subjects would then track and facilitate donations to ensure the money was received by their co-conspirators located in Nairobi and Somaliland,” Abbate said in a statement. “Today’s guilty verdicts send a message that facilitation of financial support to a designated terrorist organization equates to terrorist activity itself.”
Jama and Dhirane sent money to financiers of al-Shabaab in Somalia and Kenya, which they referred to respectively as the “Hargeisa side” and the “Nairobi side,” according to court records and evidence presented at trial.
The two legal Somali immigrants also organized what was called a “Group of Fifteen,” which included women from Somalia, Kenya, Egypt, the Netherlands, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and Canada, as well as Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The “Group of Fifteen” met regularly in a private chatroom that Jama established to organize and track monthly payment of money to the “Hargeisa side,” which was used to finance al-Shabaab military operations in the Golis Mountains in northern Somalia and the “Nairobi side,” which was used to fund two al-Shabaab safehouses.
One of those safehouses was used by al-Shabaab to store weapons and prepare for attacks, the FBI said in a news release. The other safehouse treated al-Shabaab fighters who had been wounded in battle.
In recorded telephone calls between Jama and Dhirane, the two show major support and tout close connections with al-Shabaab leadership and were privy to non-public, inside information concerning its activities.
Jama and Dhirane were recorded laughing at the carnage at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi during the attack. They were also recorded as they laughed at the Boston Marathon Bombing before it became known who committed the attack.
Jama and Dhirane each face a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison when sentenced on January 19, 2017.
This case was investigated by the FBI’s Washington, D.C. and Seattle Field Offices. The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs also played a role in coordinating the arrests and searches with foreign authorities.
John Binder is a contributor for Breitbart Texas. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.