Four men were charged with conspiring to raise thousands of dollars that were later allegedly handed over to al Qaida’s terror franchise and deceased leader Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen.
Three of the four men were former U.S. college students. Yahya Farooq Mohammad, 37; Asif Ahmed Salim, 35; Sultane Room Salim, 40; and Ibrahim Zubair Mohammad, 36, were accused in the eight-year fundraising effort, which ended in 2012, with the alleged transfer of $22,000 to an associate of al-Awlaki.
Al-Awlaki was an American citizen who became one of the group’s biggest leaders and was killed by a U.S. drone strike in 2011.
Court records stated that Yahya Mohammad, a former Ohio State University engineering student, and Ibrahim Mohammad, a former University of Illinois engineering student, got the money by opening credit card accounts and “withdrawing money with no intention of repaying the amounts.”
According to court documents, Yahya Mohammad traveled with two other people to meet al-Awlaki in Yemen in 2009. Although they never met, the group allegedly made contact with an al-Awlaki associate to transfer the $22,000.
According to the indictment, the suspects provided money, equipment and other help to Al-Awlaki before he died. The support was intended to be used in the “violent jihad against the U.S. and U.S. military in Iraq, Afghanistan and throughout the world,” according to a U.S. Attorneys Office release.
Assistant Attorney General John Carlin said that the four men “conspired to provide and did provide material support to Anwar Al-Awlaki in response to his calls to support violent jihad.”
“In today’s world, Kansas is not far removed from the battelfields of the war on terror,” Ohio U.S. attorney Barry Grissom in reference to the suspect who was living in Overland Park, Kan. “We will do everything in our power to prevent funding and material support from finding its way from the heart of America to terrorists in foreign lands.”
Two of the four suspects are in custody and are scheduled to appear in federal court Thursday in Toledo and Fort Worth. The other two are not in custody.