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Somali Islamist who lived in California and Minnesota sentenced to 20 years for financing Islamic terrorism

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Photo by: Pictures from History/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

On Monday, Judge Thomas J. Whelan sentenced former San Diego resident Abdullahi Ahmed Abdullahi to 20 years in prison for conspiring with other Islamists to provide material support to ISIS terrorists engaged in murder, kidnapping, and butchery.

According to the U.S. attorney's office of the Southern District of California, Abdullahi provided both money and personnel to support "the violent jihadist activities of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), a foreign terrorist organization."

U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman said of the sentence: "Today we have delivered justice to a man who directly funded violent acts of terrorism."

"Abdullahi committed violent, unlawful acts to obtain money, then used that money to support the murder, torture, and extreme violence that ISIS represents," said FBI Special Agent in Charge Stacey Moy.

Abdullahi was a Somali national who immigrated to the U.S. and later became a naturalized Canadian citizen. From November 2013 to March 2014, he bankrolled and encouraged both American and Canadian Islamists to travel to Syria to engage in "battles to gain control of the territories and civilian populations within Syria."

The six terrorists Abdullahi financially supported — all now dead — proved to be bad investments.

One of them, Douglas McCain, also a San Diego resident formerly of Minnesota, was reportedly the first American killed while fighting for ISIS. McCain had expressed his hatred for white people, stating, "Ok its official f--- white people." Prior to his elimination, he wrote on Facebook, the "soldiers of Allah" are "coming back."

McCain's brother Marchello McCain, also involved in the Islamist conspiracy, was sentenced to 10 years in custody for illegal possession of a cache of firearms and for lying to the FBI about his knowledge of Abdullahi's involvement with ISIS.

Abdullahi paid the way of his three cousins from Edmonton, Canada, and an 18-year-old cousin from Minneapolis. His cousins made their way to their Syrian graves by way of Turkey.

One cousin, Hanad Abdullahi Mohallim, formerly of St. Louis, died fighting for ISIS along with fellow terrorists Mahad Hirsi, Hamsa Kariye, and Hersi Kariye in 2015.

Extra to providing encouragement and money, Abdullahi helped with terrorists' "logistical needs" as well as with recruitment.

Court filings indicated that Abdullahi and his family came to America from Mogadishu, Somalia. He resided in Minneapolis and then moved to San Diego, where he lived for nearly six years. In 2012, he moved to Edmonton, Alberta.

It was in Canada that he committed an armed robbery against jewelry store VJ Jewellers in Edmonton, on January 9, 2014. He subsequently wired $3,100 of the stolen funds to ISIS terrorists.

Abdullahi was indicted by a grand jury in 2017 and arrested on September 15 of that year by Canadian authorities.

A Canadian court stayed the armed robbery charges against Abdullahi in October 2019, noting both that a conviction would have been unlikely and that he might soon face justice in the United States.

On October 24, 2019, Court of Queen's Bench Justice John Little granted the extradition order, and Abdullahi was sent to California.

Last year, Abdullahi pled guilty, admitting to a scheme to provide $4,650 to a group of Islamists planning to carry out terrorist attacks in Syria. He also admitted that he transferred funds to third-party intermediaries in Gaziantep, Turkey, near the Syrian border, with the purpose of supporting terrorist activity in Syria.

Correspondence between Abdullahi and other terrorists revealed his contempt for non-Muslims, whom they referred to as "kuffar." In the mutual encouragement given to steal from and commit fraud against non-Muslims, the terrorists appealed to Sharia law, reasoning that it permitted such criminal activity.

Although Abdullahi's attorney Marc Carlos intimated that his client was just helping out his "young and impressionable" cousins, prosecutors highlighted one of his messages wherein he wrote, "(M)ay allah bless ur hearts and fill it with joy and happiness on the front and may u brothers bring destruction to the cowards."

In March 2014, Abdullahi also expressed his intention to join his fellow terrorists, writing, "inshallah we[']ll be all together on the front lines just like I been dreaming about lately."

The San Diego Union-Tribune reported that the terrorist's family asked for leniency, describing Abdullahi as the son of Somali immigrants who had cared for elderly family members and younger cousins.

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