Posted at: 09/30/2012 7:36 PM
Suspected Terrorist Organizer in Minnesota Court
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - A Minnesota man accused of helping to recruit and finance U.S. fighters for an overseas terror group heads to trial Monday in a case that's expected to show how some young Somali expatriates in Minneapolis were persuaded to risk their lives for insurgents back home.
Mahamud Said Omar, 46, faces five terror-related counts as part of a much broader investigation into recruiting by al-Shabab, a U.S.-designated terror group linked to al-Qaida at the center of much of the violence in Somalia.
Since 2007, more than 20 young men are believed to have left Minnesota for the East African nation, presumably to take up arms with al-Shabab. The departures shook the Somali community in Minnesota - the largest in the United States.
While prosecutors don't consider Omar a mastermind in the Minneapolis pipeline, they allege that he was far more than a bit player: They say he encouraged young men to fight, helped some get tickets for travel to Somalia and helped pay for weapons.