A Kent woman and four other people have been charged with funneling money to the al-Qaida-linked extremist group al-Shabab in Somalia.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Alexandria announced the charges Wednesday.
Prosecutors said 44-year-old Hinda Osman Dhirane of Kent and 34-year-old Muna Osman Jama of Reston, Virgina, were charged with providing material support to a foreign terrorist network.
The U.S. designated al-Shabab as a terrorist group in 2008.
The women were arrested in their homes.
Three others overseas also were charged. One was in custody in the Netherlands; the other two were fugitives in Kenya and Somalia.
Prosecutors alleged the women raised money for al-Shabab using code words such as “orphans” to refer to al-Shabab fighters.
According to the federal Department of Justice, Dhirane and Jama Jama are leaders of an al-Shabab fundraising conspiracy operating in the United States, Kenya, the Netherlands, Somalia and elsewhere.
Jama allegedly was responsible for sending money to Kenya through overseas defendant Fardowsa Jama Mohamed, while Dhirane was primarily responsible for sending money to Somalia through another overseas defendant, Barira Hassan Abdullahi, according to the charges.
The Seattle area boasts the second-largest Somali population in the United States, behind Minneapolis-St. Paul. Over the years, the FBI and federal prosecutors have tried to make in-roads into the community.
In 2009, Somali-born Abdifatah Yusuf Isse of Seattle, pleaded guilty in Minnesota to terrorism-related charges in connection with several young Somalis disappearing from their homes and turning up in Somalia fighting for the terrorist organization, al-Shabab.
His attorney said Isse likely was being recruited as a suicide bomber.
That same year, another young Seattle man — whose name has not been officially released — was suspected by the FBI of being one of the men who detonated a truck bomb in Mogadishu, killing 21 people, mostly U.N. peacekeepers.
At the time, the FBI said it believed that “outside influences” were at work in Seattle’s Somali community, trying to recruit and radicalize young men to carry out jihad in their homeland.
In 2008, a Seattle man and convert to Islam, Ruben Shumpert, reportedly was killed in a U.S.-supported rocket attack near Mogadishu. Prosecutors said Shumpert fled to Somalia to avoid going to prison here on gun and counterfeiting charges.