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Former UA student charged with providing support for al-Qaeda

Jessa Reid Bolling, Assistant News Editor

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A former student at The University of Alabama accused of providing support to terrorist organization al-Qaeda was indicted by a federal grand jury in Birmingham.

The woman, Alaa Mohd Abusaad, 22, was arrested last week in Ohio. Her LinkedIn profile said she studied geology/earth science at the University and was president of the Muslim Student Association.

Chris Bryant, assistant director for the office of media relations, said in an email that the individual is a former student who has not been enrolled since the last academic year.

According to, Abusaad was arrested Oct. 23 in Ohio and is charged with attempting to provide material support and resources to al-Qaeda. She instructed an undercover FBI informant how to send money to the mujahedeen (fighters engaged in jihad.)

“You can’t have a war without weapons,’’ Abusaad told the informant. “You can’t prepare a soldier without equipment.”

The investigation began in February after another person introduced Abusaad to the informant. They began communicating through a mobile messaging app, and Abusaad gave the informant instructions on how to send money in a manner that would remain undetected by law enforcement.

FBI agents in Birmingham, Cleveland and Toledo, Ohio carried out the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Henry Cornelius and Manu Balachandran, and trial attorney Jennifer Levy of the National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section are handling the prosecution.

Abusaad faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and up to a life term of supervised release if convicted.


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Former UA student charged with providing support for al-Qaeda