MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — One of two Minnesota women accused of funneling money to a terrorist group in Somalia allegedly told potential donors to ignore charities and focus on “the jihad” and helped finance local Somali men’s travel to their war-torn homeland to fight, prosecutors alleged in court filings.

The details hint at evidence the government claims it has against Amina Farah Ali, who is scheduled to stand trial Monday on multiple terror charges. Prosecutors said Ali, 35, and her co-defendant, 64-year-old Hawo Mohamed Hassan, were part of a “deadly pipeline” that routed money and fighters from the U.S. to Somalia.

The women, both U.S. citizens of Somali descent, were among 20 people charged in Minnesota’s long-running federal investigations into recruiting and financing for al-Shabab, which the U.S. considers a terror group with ties to al-Qaida. Investigators believe at least 21 men left Minnesota — home to the country’s largest Somali community — to join al-Shabab.

Though others have pleaded guilty to related charges, the women are the first to go on trial.

Ali and Hassan maintain their innocence and claim they were collecting money and clothing for refugees. But prosecutors allege the women went door-to-door and held teleconferences to solicit donations for the fighters. In one of those recorded calls, investigators allege, Ali said to “forget about the other charities” and focus on “the jihad.” In others, both women speak with the leader of a militia allied with al-Shabab, and Ali gets updates on the fighting.

Both women, of Rochester, are charged with conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization. Ali also faces 12 counts of providing such support for allegedly sending more than $8,600 to the group from September 2008 through July 2009. Hassan faces three counts of lying to the FBI.

Each terrorism count carries a 15-year maximum prison sentence. The trial is expected to last about two weeks.

Investigators said they ran a wiretap on Ali’s home and cellular phones for 10 months, intercepting roughly 30,000 calls, some of which were between the two women and others, and searched the trash outside Ali’s apartment about 90 times, according to court documents and hearings in recent months.

Defense attorneys have tried to keep some of that evidence out of trial. Dan Scott, Ali’s lawyer, argued that some evidence would simply confuse the jury and pointed to prosecutors’ allegations that Ali communicated with terrorists who weren’t members of al-Shabab.

“In essence, the government wants to offer evidence that the defendants legally had contact with bad men to show that the defendants had illegal contact with other bad men,” he wrote in a recent court filing.

Scott also sought to limit evidence alleging Ali gave money and clothes to al-Shabab before it was designated a foreign terrorist organization in early 2008, saying such activity wouldn’t have been illegal at the time under the charges his client faces.

Hassan’s attorney, Tom Kelly, has repeatedly asked that his client be tried separately, saying most of the government’s evidence is against Ali and would affect how jurors view Hassan. That request was denied Friday.

During a hearing a day earlier, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Paulsen said prosecutors would show that Ali raised $11,000 for al-Shabab in 2007 and initially intended to send it to the group through clerics in Minneapolis. But she didn’t like how they were handling the money, so she “took the bull by the horns” and set up her own contacts in Somalia, Paulsen said.

Prosecutors also allege that Ali’s computer contained images of prominent al-Shabab members, the beheading of a Christian Somali and of Jamal Bana — a young Somali who left Minnesota in 2008 and later died in Somalia. Investigators also said they have evidence that Ali sent money to a man in Kenya for the medical treatment of wounded al-Shabab fighters.

“Her intent, her goal, is to further the cause, the fighting,” Paulsen said of Ali.

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

Comments (28)
  1. Sam I am says:

    If they want to fight for Somalia so bad send the the he!! back.

    Get out!

    1. sad but true says:

      Guess where they get the money to send back?….yep, form the government. Welfare checks, housing aid, etc…. it’s like the government of the U.S. is fighting themselves.

  2. Joe says:

    I agree, dude. If found guilty, what would be a worse punishment, time in a U.S. prison or time in Mogadishu?

    Most Somalians are good people, but for those who break the law or want to play with terrorists, we should just send them back.

  3. me says:

    …send ’em all home….

    1. David says:

      This is not your country, you just got here first. What are you going to do when america turns brown? Just give us 15-20 years WHITE PEOPLE!

      1. Nomo Muzzyzs says:

        Right on Bro’, it’snot miy country, it’s our country, white, black, red, etc. but it’s not YOUR country…because you don’t get it, you’re a racist.

        When these muzzyzs get thicker, you’ll find out you’re just an infidel and have no place here…or…maybe you’re a convert to their psyco-sick philosophy.

        Then, if you are, you should go back to their country with them and see how welcome you are.

  4. Sue J says:

    Just another Liberial being helped by the ACLU defending evile sense 1932

    1. MIke says:

      Sue must have started drinking early today or maybe the party never ended last night. …. The story never references the ACLU or liberals, but Sue manages to malign it to against her nemesis when in fact war torn Somalians started immigration in 1992 under Republican George Bush Sr. So, stick that in your pie hole honey……….

  5. Sarah says:

    She looks so sweet!

    1. Mike says:

      About as sweet as Amy Sensor………..

  6. Hithere says:

    Part of her actions were good for america, she helped funnel fighters from the U.S. to somalia that means they left the country, i’l help pay to funnel every immi. back to where they came from the last 50 years, I have to say that or some fool will tell me im an immigrant from hundreds of years ago. Difference is my people act and function as human beings not animals.

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  7. unbeliveable says:

    Please people, she’s just confused. A poor misguided Muslim woman who hides in a tent on her body. Maybe we just haven’t shown enough love and understanding. So since she’s committing acts of treason we could show her the error of her ways and blow her up. Just a tasteful little explosive underneath all that fashion.

  8. Guy says:

    Shoot her for TREASON – “Giving aid and comfort to the enemy” is the DEFINITION of treason in the constitution.

  9. Bill Clintons Cigar says:

    Oh she is gonna have some fun in prison! Can you imagine what the inmates will do to her when they find out what she did………the he-she’s will have their way with her……she will be lucky to survive a year…..

  10. JohnRalph says:

    She looks like black American hillbilly trash with a black KKK robe on.

    1. Jake says:

      ROTFLMAO!!! All she needs is a full-face mask, a cone-shaped hat, and burning a cross or the Star of David, and it would be Hate Crime City. So where are the hate-crime advocates on this case??

  11. Mike says:

    JohnRalph, don’t insult my ancestors by using the “hillbilly” word on this traitor, they are the most patriotic people you will find in this Country! She is just another example of how we are importing the enemy into our own Country in the name of political correctness. Try being Christian in Somalia, see how long you last……

  12. Charles L says:

    You can’t judge someone’s guilt by their looks. That is why you people continue to vote for fools like Romney and Obama, because they look “presidential.” You are like a three year old offered a dime and a nickel. Also I don’t see what the crime is. She is sending people to fight in Somalia. What the hell does that have to do with us? I guess we have troops there too, who knows? Government lies so much.

  13. hard rains says:

    Does anyone actually know what’s going on in Somalia? Any opinions on that? I mean, other than the normal off-the-wall idiot rants?

  14. NoMo Muzzyzs says:

    Forget the fine, send her and her contacts in America, those that helped her, back to where she came from. It’s not a religion, it’s a philosophy, a very bad one at that!
    Mean time, feed pork to the prisoners in Ohio. They don’t have to eat it…they’re in jail, let ’em starve if they want to.