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Prem Mittal | HENB | Washington | Nov 6, 2015:: Two Muslim brothers of Indian origin are among four men who have been indicted by a US Federal Court on charges of providing material support to slain al-Qaida leader Anwar al-Awlaki, prosecutors said on Thursday.
The two NRI are Yahya Farooq Mohammad, 37, and his brother Ibrahim Zubair Mohammad, 36. The other two are Asif Ahmed Salim, 35, and his brother Sultane Room Salim, 40.
All four men have been indicted on one count of conspiracy to provide and conceal material support and resources to terrorists, one count of providing material support and resources to terrorists and one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice.
Farooq and Ibrahim also face an additional count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud in terms of thousands of dollars.
“According to the allegations in the indictment, Farooq Mohammad, Ibrahim Mohammad, Asif Salim and Sultane Salim conspired to provide and did provide material support to Anwar al-Awlaki in response to his calls to support violent jihad,” said assistant attorney general John Carlin.
The department of justice said Farooq was an engineering student at Ohio State University between 2002 and 2004. In or around March 2008, he married a US citizen.
His brother Ibrahim studied engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign from 2001 through 2005. In 2006, he moved to Toledo, Ohio, and also married a US citizen.
He became a lawful permanent resident of the US in or around 2007, federal prosecutors said.
The other two accused – Asif Salim is a US citizen who studied at Ohio State University between 2000 and 2005. He became a resident of Overland Park, Kansas, in 2007.
His brother, Sultane Salim, is also a US citizen who resided in the Chicago-area from 2006 through 2012, until he moved to the Columbus-area.
According to the indictment, from January 2005 through January 2012, the four conspired to provide money, equipment and other assistance to al-Awlaki.
They made various financial transactions in 2008 and 2009, and communicated about raising funds for a trip to the Middle East.
In an e-mail sent by Farooq to Zubair on January 31, 2005, Yahya wrote: “The Muslims there (in India) are our brothers. The non-Muslims our enemies. We do dawah (proselytise) to them in the best manner. But if they refuse, and when we have the capability, we offer them to live as dhimmis (non-Muslims under the protection of Muslim law) or else face the sword.”
“We will never have a subservient attitude for them,” the e-mail says. “There is a time for dawah, and a time for jihad.”
The men also exchanged jihadist literature produced by al-Qaeda — among it, an interview with slain Pakistani Taliban commander Muhammad Illyas Kashmiri, hailing the 26/11 attack in Mumbai.
India’s intelligence officials, government sources said, were informed four weeks ago that Farooq might seek to flee to this country, ahead of the indictment. However, no details were provided on his passport details, origin or possible activities in India.
“FBI had these men under surveillance for a length of time”, a senior official said, “but told us nothing about it. The prospect that they might have funded jihadists in India is a matter of great concern”.
Farooq and Ibrahim obtained money by opening credit cards and withdrawing money with no intention of repaying the amounts obtained from the financial institutions, federal prosecutors alleged.
The indictment further alleges that on July 22, 2009, Farooq travelled with two others to Yemen to meet al-Awlaki.
They were unable to meet with al-Awlaki so instead travelled to Sana, Yemen, to meet with one of his associates.
Farooq and his two fellow travellers gave the associate approximately $22,000 to be given to al-Awlaki.
Base Reports: PTI and Agencies.