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Terrorism cases from the past 12 years in central Ohio



June 2004
Federal authorities announced that a secret cell of al-Qaida terrorists plotted to bring “death and destruction” to Columbus by blowing up a shopping mall. An indictment unsealed in U.S. District Court in Columbus said Somali immigrant Nuradin Abdi and admitted al-Qaida member Iyman Faris plotted with a third Columbus man to bring down a mall, perhaps during the Christmas season. Abdi was later sentenced to 10 years in prison and Faris to 20 years.

June 2008
Christopher Paul, a Worthington man accused of plotting to help al-Qaida, pleaded guilty to conspiring with terrorists to use weapons of mass destruction in Europe and the United States. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2009.

June 2011
A Somali man living in Franklin County was arrested by FBI agents after he was charged in Minnesota with providing money and other assistance to the Somali terrorist group al-Shabab, which has been linked to al-Qaida. Ahmed Hussein Mahamud, 26, who had moved to the Westerville area that year, appeared in federal court in Columbus and was transferred to Minnesota to face charges there.

February 2015
Abdirahman S. Mohamud, 23, was arrested at his home on the West Side and charged with supporting Middle Eastern terrorists through money laundering and providing resources. His trial is scheduled for July 2017 in Franklin County Common Pleas Courts.

November 2015
Four Ohio men, including three former Ohio State University students — one a current Columbus resident — were charged with raising cash for a terrorist in Yemen. The men indicted are two sets of brothers: Yahya Farooq Mohammad, 37, and Ibrahim Zubair Mohammad, 36; and Asif Ahmed Salim, 35, and Sultane Roome Salim, 40. Their cases are pending.

February 2016
Mohamed Barry attacked patrons in the Nazareth Mediterranean Cuisine restaurant on the Far Northeast Side with a machete, wounding four. At the time, FBI agents said there was no indication that Barry was working with anyone, or being directed by someone. But they said that Barry, 30, who was shot and killed by a Columbus police officer, had been on a watch list for “espousing extremist views.” Agents didn’t use the words “terrorism” or “terrorist” then, but this week, Columbus Police Deputy Chief Michael Woods, who oversees the division’s homeland security unit, compared Barry’s attack to Monday’s attack at Ohio State University as a potential act of terrorism.

May 2016
Two siblings who were honor-roll students at Metro Early College High School on the Northwest Side abandoned their lives here and joined ISIS, with the younger brother killed in Syria. The two, from Reynoldsburg, were Rasel Raihan, 20, and his older sister, Zakia Nasrin, 24. Nasrin had graduated as a valedictorian from Metro in 2010 and reportedly recruited her brother to the Islamic State after she married a man she met online who belongs to the terrorist organization and they moved to Syria.

November 2016
Aaron T. Daniels was ordered held without bond after authorities say he provided material support to a foreign terrorist group. Daniels, 20, of the Northeast Side, was arrested at John Glenn Columbus International Airport. Federal agents said he intended to fly to Libya to fight for the Islamic State. He also sent $250 to a known intermediary of ISIS recruiter Abu Isa Al-Amriki in January, according to an indictment in U.S. District Court in Columbus.

Source: Columbus Dispatch archives


Somali Man charged the deaths of 4 in fatal I-55 accident



STAUTON, IL – A Colorado truck driver has been charged following an investigation into a multi-vehicle accident that killed 4 people and injured 11 others. Mohamed Jama, 54, of Greeley, Colorado, turned himself in to the Madison County Jail Monday.

The accident happened on southbound I-55 in Madison County on November 21, 2017.

The fatal accident killed 2 sisters, Madisen and Hailey Bertels and a friend, Tori Carroll, and an out of state woman, Vivian Vu in another vehicle.

Authorities say the accident occurred when a tractor-trailer driven by Mohamed Jama failed to slow down and stop for cars in front of him in a construction zone.

By the time it was all over, 7 vehicles were damaged and the people inside them injured or killed.

The sisters attended high school in Staunton.

The deaths deeply touched Staunton where people knew the young women or knew people who were their friends. Many in town were still grieving the loss. Matthew Batson said, “I’ll hear stories about them all the time, even though it’s been five months? Yes, it’s a lasting effect.”

The Madison County State`s Attorney Tom Gibbon said if convicted of all the crimes Mohamed Jama could spend the rest of his life in prison. With summer coming on and more construction zone Gibbons says there`s a warning for all of us.

“Each of us out there in our cars we really need to pay attention, watch out, slow down you never want to see something like this to happen again it so terrible for all the victim I’m sure that no person would want to be the cause of something like this.”

Jama is charged with 4 counts of reckless homicide and 8 counts of reckless driving. He`s being held in the Madison County Jail without bond.

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CANADA: Edmonton author aims to boost diversity in children’s book publishing



EDMONTON—Two years ago Rahma Mohamed’s then four-year-old daughter saw an Elsa costume, complete with blond braids, and pleaded with her mother to buy it so she would look “beautiful.”

That’s when Mohamed decided her kids needed more cultural inspiration than the blond princess from Frozen.

After a year of work, the first-time author published Muhima’s Quest, a children’s book that tells the story of a young African-America Muslim girl who wakes up on her 10th birthday and goes on a journey.

Now, Mohamed’s at work on her second book, which is due out at the end of the month. She’s on a journey of her own, she said, to boost diversity in children’s publishing.

“I wanted to create a character who had African descent and is a Muslim in a children’s book because I just found out that there were none that were available in the mainstream,” she said.

Her books show kids it’s OK to be different, she said. Take her first book: some Muslims don’t celebrate birthdays, she explains, and the little girl in the book struggles with her faith and questions why she doesn’t celebrate like her classmates do.

“The overall message is that we do things differently, but that part is what makes us beautiful,” Mohamed said.

She said she felt it necessary for her kids to see themselves represented in the books they read in order to “enhance their self-confidence, as well as bolster their sense of pride.”

Mohamed, who writes under the pen name Rahma Rodaah, self-published her first book and since last summer, has sold 200 copies locally.

“It does take a lot of resources and you have to self-finance, but I believe in the end it’s worth it,” she said.

She hopes to go bigger with her second book, which focuses on the universal concept of sibling rivalry, and features a young girl who plans on selling her little brother because she believes he is getting all the attention.

“My overall goal is to portray Muslim Africans who are basically a normal family.”

Mohamed says her previous book was well-received by parents at readings she had done at public libraries and schools.

“Most of them who are Muslims really loved that the kids could identify with the characters,” she said.

The books also acted as a conversation starter for non-Muslim families, she said.

She said, for her, the most exciting part of the journey is knowing that she is making a difference in shaping the minds of young Black Muslims.

“We are underrepresented, misunderstood and mostly mischaracterized. It is time we paint a different picture.”

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When radicalization lured two Somali teenagers … from Norway



Mukhtar Ibrahim

In October 2013, two Somali teenage girls named Ayan and Leila shocked their parents by running away to join ISIS in Syria. Their radicalization story is unusual in that it happened in Norway.

Acclaimed Norwegian journalist Åsne Seierstad spent years researching what happened. Now her book, “Two Sisters: Into the Syrian Jihad” is available in the United States.

Seierstad, who discusses her book Monday night at the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis, said she didn’t go looking for the story.

“The story actually came to me,” she said. “It was the father of the girls who actually wanted the story to be written.”

His name is Sadiq, a Somali man who worked for years to bring his family to Norway. He hoped for a better life. He thought things were going well, then everything collapsed when Ayan and Leila disappeared.

When the girls left home, their parents were in shock, Seierstad said. “They hadn’t understood what was this about. Why? And then as months went by and they got to learn more about radicalization, they realized that all the signs had been there. That the girls were like a textbook case of radicalization. And he [Sadiq] wanted the book to be written to warn others, to tell this story to warn other parents.”

It is a perplexing story. Ayan and Leila were bright, and opinionated. They didn’t put up with being pushed around.

“And that is somehow part of why they left, in their logic,” said Seierstad, adding that the girls were convinced Syria and ISIS offered a chance of eternal life.

“They believed that life here and now is not real life. Real life happens after death. And this life is only important as a test. So the better your score, the better you behave in this life, the better position you will have in heaven for eternity. So isn’t that better?”

Seierstad is known for her in-depth reporting. Her book “One of Us,” about Anders Breivik, the gunman who killed 77 people in Norway’s worst terror attack, is an international best-seller.

When published in Norway Seierstad said, “Two Sisters” became the top-selling book for two years running. What pleases her most is the breadth of her readership. She gets email from young Somali girls, and also from government officials who want to prevent future radicalization.

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