By Jim Kouri
Mohamed Ibrahim Ahmed pled guilty on Wednesday evening to conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist group and for receiving terrorist training such as bomb-making from Somalia’s al-Qaeda ally known as Al-Shabaab.
Al-Shabaab is listed as a foreign terrorist organization by both the U.S. Department of State and Treasury Department officials who have placed sanctions on the group as well as certain individuals in Al-Shabaab.
The 38-year-old Ahmed pled guilty before U.S. District Judge P. Kevin Castel, who is scheduled to pronounce sentence on Nov. 2, 2012. The convicted terrorist will continue being incarcerated in New York City’s Riker’s detention center until sentencing.
According to the U.S. Attorney, Preet Bharara, Mohamed Ibrahim Ahmed traveled a long way from his home in Sweden to Somalia, where he took up the radical Islamic cause of Al-Shabaab, a deadly terrorist organization and sworn enemy of the United States and its people.
On Wednesday, New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly stated, “This plea is important to the ongoing efforts by the NYPD and federal partners to deter terrorist organizations and their followers, who continue in their attempts to put New York City and the United States at risk.”
According to the indictment, in early 2009, Ahmed left his home in Sweden and traveled to Somalia in order to support and receive military-type training from Al-Shabaab.
Al-Shabaab has used violent means to destabilize the government of Somalia and to force the withdrawal of foreign troops from the country. The group has recruited foreign fighters to join in its “holy war” in Somalia, resulting in men from other countries, including the United States, traveling there to engage in violent jihad. Al-Shabaab has also made numerous public statements demonstrating its intent to harm the United States.
While in Somalia, Ahmed contributed about 3,000 Euros to Al-Shabaab, received training and instruction with respect to bomb-making and bomb-detonation, and purchased an AK-47 rifle, additional magazines, and two grenades. Ahmed subsequently provided the rifle and magazines to an Al-Shabaab commander.
Ahmed is not the first man arrested in the U.S. as a member of Al-Shabaab. A U.S. Army intelligence unit member, Craig Benedict Baxam, 24, was arrested on Friday, Jan. 6, 2012, upon his return to Maryland after a trip to Africa.
In a case involving yet another radicalized American Muslim who served in an Army intelligence unit, a criminal complaint was filed in Maryland federal court charging Baxam of Laurel, Maryland, with attempting to provide material support to Al-Shabaab.