Four Ohio residents, including two former Ohio State University students, have been charged with giving thousands of dollars to Al Qaeda militants with the intention of funding “violent jihad against the U.S. in Iraq, Afghanistan and throughout the world,” according to a Justice Department release.
The four defendants conspired to provide money, equipment, and other assistance to the radical, American-born cleric Anwar Al-Awlaki, according to an indictment obtained by NBC Columbus. The American government designated al-Awlaki a global terrorist in 2010 and considered him one of Al Qaeda’s senior recruiters up until his death by U.S. drone strike in 2011.
The indictment accuses Yahya Farooq Mohammad, 37; Ibrahim Zubair Mohammad, 36; Asif Ahmed Salim, 35; and Sultane Room Salim, 40, of traveling to Yemen to meet with al-Awlaki’s associates. All of the defendants will face charges of providing material support to terrorists and obstructing justice, while Farooq Mohammad and Ibrahim Mohammad are also charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud.
Farooq Mohammad and Asif Salim both attended OSU in the early aughts. Mohammad was an Indian citizen but married an American woman in 2008, according to the Columbus Dispatch. His brother Ibrahim was also an Indian citizen but became a legal resident after marrying a U.S. citizen in 2006, shortly after he finished studying engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.