All eyes on the Imam as Somali terror funding trial gets underway in San Diego
Posted by Ann Corcoran on January 31, 2013
Update on the trial (February 20th) here.
From UT San Diego (emphasis mine):
SAN DIEGO — Scores of recorded phone calls show that four Somali immigrants conspired in 2008 to raise money and send it to their homeland to assist the terrorist group al-Shabaab, a federal prosecutor said at the opening Wednesday of a terrorism trial in San Diego.
But defense lawyers for the four men countered that those phone calls, as well as other evidence, has been misconstrued and taken out of context by prosecutors, and that the funds sent were for humanitarian — not terrorist — purposes.
The trial, expected to last three weeks, covers events from January to August 2008, when about $8,500 of cash was sent from San Diego to Somalia. The four defendants are charged with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists and to a foreign terrorist organization — in this instance, the Somali-based group al-Shabaab. They are also charged with money laundering.
The U.S. government designated Al-Shabaab a terrorist organization in 2008. Its members have been connected to bombings, assassinations, and attacks on civilians, officials with various governments in the unstable country, and peacekeeping forces. It’s also been linked to al-Qaeda.
The defendants come from widely different backgrounds. Basally Saeed Moalin was a cabdriver in San Diego before his arrest in 2010. Assistant U.S. Attorney Caroline Han told jurors he was the main connection with the fighters in Somalia and orchestrated the fundraising in San Diego.
Mohamed Mohamed Mohamud was the popular imam of the al-Ansar mosque in City Heights, in the heart of the San Diego’s immigrant Somali community. Issa Doreh worked at the Shidaal Express, a hawala, or money-transfer business. The fourth defendant, Ahmed Nasir Taalil Mohamud, was a cabdriver in Anaheim who met Moalin when both drove taxis in St. Louis.
The prosecution has been closely followed by San Diego’s Somali immigrants. At every hearing in the run-up to the trial, dozens of supporters from the Somali community have filled the courtroom of U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Miller.
In a rare move Wednesday, the court opened an adjacent courtroom for the overflow crowd, piping in an audio feed of the proceedings…
“People are following it a lot and are very interested in what is going to happen,” said Hussein Nuur, director of economic development for the Horn of Africa community group in City Heights.
Nuur said much of the talk focuses on Mohamud, the imam and spiritual leader for the mosque. Skepticism of the government’s case runs high, he said.
Type ‘San Diego’ into our search function for more on the activities of San Diego’s large Somali immigrant community.
For new readers we have resettled more than 100,000 Somali refugees to cities large and small in the US over the last 25 years. See one of the most widely read posts here at RRW. In three years since 9/11 ( Bush years 2004, 2005, 2006) the number of Somalis arriving topped 10,000 per year. Those refugees then began bringing in the family (chain migration!) until 2008 when shock of shocks! the State Department discovered that as many as 30,000 Somalis had lied about their kinship and weren’t related at all. The State Department then closed the “family reunification” program for Somalis. It has recently been re-opened for new and legit family members, but they have no intention of finding and deporting the liars. However, we learned recently that we are deporting criminal Somalis—airlifts to Mogadishu anyone!
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