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Somali Language At Issue In Terror Suspect Case

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(credit: Jupiter Images)

(credit: Jupiter Images)

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Attorneys for a Somali man accused of helping finance fighters for the terror group al-Shabab say they want their own interpreter.

The defense says 45-year-old Mahamud Said Omar is proficient in a language known as Af Maay, spoken in southern Somalia.

The primary language in Somalia is Af Maxaa.

While Omar speaks a little Af Maxaa and a little English, attorney Matt Forsgren says Omar doesn’t know enough of either for a case this serious.

Omar is charged in the recruitment of at least 21 men who authorities believe left Minnesota to join al-Shabab in Somalia.

The government opposes the request for an Af Maay interpreter because Omar already gave statements in Af Maxaa. Prosecutors say they have recordings of Omar fluently speaking the language.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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