UPDATE: San Diego religious leader among those charged with aiding Somali terrorists - SignOnSanDiego.com (hat tip Mike)
SAN DIEGO — The arrest of the leader of a City Heights mosque, a man described as a revered figure who was known for advocating nonviolence and tolerance, has stunned the close-knit Somali community in City Heights, where many refugees of the war-torn country live, work and pray.
Mohamed Mohamed Mohamud, 38, appeared in federal court Wednesday to answer to charges that he was involved in a conspiracy to provide money and other aid to al-Shabaab in Somalia, which U.S. authorities have designated a foreign terrorist organization.
Mohamud and co-defendant Issa Doreh, 54, pleaded not guilty. A third defendant, Basaaly Saeed Moalin, 33, pleaded not guilty to similar charges Tuesday.
Mohamud has been the imam — the religious leader — of Masjid Al-Ansar on Winona Avenue for 10 years, said Bashir Hassan, secretary of the small mosque that primarily serves Somali refugees. Doreh and Moalin both attended the mosque, Hassan said.
Mohamud is married and has several children, Hassan said Wednesday.
“He is the center of the community here,” Hassan said. “Everyone likes him. When anyone needs help, he is the first person to help. His arrest was very shocking. He is a godfather person to the community.”
One man's terror funding is another Muslim's zakat.
St. Louis Man Accused Of Funneling Money To Somali Terrorist Organization (KTVI-FOX2Now.com) —
A St. Louis cab driver is accused of supporting an overseas terrorist group. the Somali refugee was arrested Monday after a two year federal investigation. Federal investigators tracked the money trail that originated in St. Louis to Somalia. Authorities say Mohamud Yusuf sent five thousand dollars to a known terror group in his homeland.
Five grand may not seem like a lot unless you live in an African country in the middle of a violent civil war.
30 year old Mohamud Yusuf is accused of gathering and helping transfer money to a terror group called al-Shabab.
U.S. Attorney Richard Callahan said, "al-Shabaab was put on the Attorney General terror list in february of 2008. it is largely a somali organization involved in a civil war with the federal government."
Callahan says Yusuf sent money to al-Shabaab for more than a year beginning in February 2008.
"Our indictment only covers about $5,000 and while that doesn't go far in the U.S. it would go very far in Somalia," said Callahan.
Callahan say Yusuf sent the money overseas in small increments. al-Shabaab has ties to Al-Qaida.
"That's the greatest evil of this financial support being sent back to Somalia to aid in a overthrowing the government, a government that is being supported by the United States," said Callahan.
Callahan say Yusuf didn't act alone.
While one co-conspirator is still at large, another Somali refugee who owned a wire transfer business was arrested in Minnesota this week.
"Abi Hussein from Minneapolis is also charged with helping them funnel the money under fictitious names," said Callahan.
Mohamud Yusuf worked as an airport cab driver. He's been in St. Louis for at least six years and has had at least one previous run in with the law.
'We know he was charged in November of 2008 with falsifying naturalization papers," said Callahan.
He has a detention hearing scheduled in federal court on Thursday afternoon.