Reston Woman Among Those Charged With Helping Group Linked to Al-Qaida

Two women in the U.S. have been charged with funneling money to the extremist group al-Shabab in Somalia.

Muna Osman Jama, 34, of Reston, Virginia, and Hinda Osman Dhirane, 44, of Kent, Washington, were arrested in their homes. Three more people overseas were also charged in the case.

Prosecutors say Jama and Dhirane women raised money -- which they referred to as "living expenses" -- for al-Shabab using code words like "orphans" to refer to al-Shabab fighters.

They say the two women were the leaders of a conspiracy operating in the United States, Kenya, the Netherlands, Somalia and elsewhere. Court records say Jama sent money through a conduit to Kenya, while Dhirane used a conduit in Somalia.

Jama faced an initial appearance Wednesday at the federal courthouse in Alexandria.

Of the three overseas suspects, one is in custody in the Netherlands; the other two are fugitives in Kenya and Somalia.

All five people were indicted on one count each of conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization and 20 counts of providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Alexandria announced the charges Wednesday.

The United States designated al-Shabab as a terrorist group in 2008. The group is linked to al-Qaida.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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