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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 Somali dialect known as Af-Maay, spoken in southern Somalia.

The primary language in Somalia is Af-Mahaa.

While Omar speaks a little Af-Mahaa 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. Prosecutors played audio recordings that they say show Omar can speak Af-Mahaa and is “perfectly fluent” in that dialect.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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