The arrests of Somali immigrants Amina Farah Ali, 35, and Hawo Mohamed Hassan, 64, sparked outrage in Minnesota’s bustling Somali community and protests in the outskirts of Mogadishu last year.
The women insisted they did not know that the money was going to the Shebab — a group linked to Al-Qaeda — and were instead simply trying to help the poor and those displaced in Somalia’s protracted civil war.
Evidence presented at the 10-day trial showed that Ali and Hassan, both naturalized US citizens, encouraged people to “forget about the other charities” and focus on “the jihad,” prosecutors said in a statement.
They raised money in teleconferences that encouraged people to send money to the “mujahedeen” and by knocking on door in Somali neighborhoods in Minneapolis, Rochester and other cities in the United States and Canada.
The money was sent to Somalia using several money remittance companies.
Both women were convicted on one count of conspiracy to provide support to a terrorist organization, which carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison.
Ali was also convicted of 12 counts of providing material support to Shebab rebels, each of which carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.
Hassan was convicted of two counts of making false statements to authorities, which each carry a maximum sentence of eight years in prison.
A federal judge will determine their sentence at a later date.
Minnesota is home to one of the Somali diaspora’s largest communities and has been rocked by the disappearance of at least 20 young men who are believed to have gone to fight for the Shebab in Somalia.
Designated a terrorist organization by the United States, the Shebab are locked in a protracted battle with Somalia’s weak, Western-backed government for control of the Horn of Africa nation.