A Reston woman was among three defendants arrested July 23 on charges of providing material support to al-Qaeda.
Muna Osman Jama, 34, was charged along with four additional defendants, two of whom are fugitives in Kenya and Somalia, according to the United States Department of Justice.
A federal grand jury indictment was issued on June 26 in the Eastern District of Virginia, charging the six defendants with one count of conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization and 20 counts of providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization, court records state.
If convicted, each defendant faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison on each count in the indictment.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, on July 23 Muna Osman Jama, 34, was arrested at her home in Reston; Hinda Osman Dhirane, 44, was arrested at her home in Kent, Washington; Farhia Hassan was arrested at her residence in the Netherlands;
Fardowsa Jama Mohamed is a fugitive in Kenya and the subject of a pending arrest warrant; and Barira Hassan Abdullahi is a fugitive in Somalia and the subject of a pending arrest warrant.
According to court records, Jama was principally responsible for sending money to Kenya through her conduit, defendant Mohamed.
According to court records, the defendants would refer to the money they sent overseas as “living expenses,” and they repeatedly used code words such as “orphans” and “brothers in the mountains” to refer to al-Shabaab fighters, and “camels” to refer to trucks needed by al-Shabaab. The money transfers often were broken down into small amounts as low as $50 or $100, and the funds were intended for use by al-Shabaab insurgents operating in Somalia.
The Harakat Shabaab al-Mujahidin, commonly known as al-Shabaab, is a terrorist group conducting a violent insurgency campaign in Somalia. In 2008, the U.S. government designated al-Shabaab as a foreign terrorist organization, and in February 2012, the leaders of al-Shabaab and the terrorist group al-Qaeda publicly announced the merger of the two groups.
According to court records, defendants Jama and Hinda Osman Dhirane of Kent, Washington, were the leaders of an al-Shabaab fundraising conspiracy operating in the United States, Kenya, the Netherlands, Somalia and elsewhere.
Jama and Dhirane allegedly directed a network composed primarily of women who provided monthly payments that were coordinated, facilitated and tracked by the defendants to their conduits in Kenya and Somalia.
Messages left for Jama’s attorney, Whitney Minter of the Office of the Federal Public Defender in Alexandria, were not immediately returned.