Sheik Mohamed Abdirahman Kariye was a co-founder of the Global Relief Foundation (GRF), which the U.S. government shut down in December 2001 because of its ties to terrorism. For at least one year after GRF’s creation in 1991, Kariye was on the organization’s board of directors.
Since the mid-1980’s, Kariye was active with the Islamic Center of Portland (Oregon), a.k.a. Masjed As-Saber, which is one of the most radical mosques in the country. He was on the Islamic Center’s board of directors, and served as its Imam.
In 1997, while Kariye was involved with the Islamic Center of Portland, GRF gave the center $19,000 towards the construction of a new building. Three years later, the Islamic Center gave $38,000 to GRF.
In September 2002, Kariye was stopped by an anti-terrorism squad at Portland’s airport as he tried to board a flight to the United Arab Emirates. He was charged with possessing falsified Social Security cards and putting a wrong birth date on an immigration document.
A report on the matter stated the following: “A federal prosecutor… told the magistrate that tests performed on Kariye’s luggage turned up traces of TNT residue, and that his luggage contained a substantial amount of cash that indicated he and his four children planned to leave the United States and most likely, to not return.”
Later, federal prosecutors would argue that Kariye funded a trip to Afghanistan for a group of would-be terrorists, all of whom were worshipers at the Islamic Center of Portland. In an FBI affidavit, it was stated that Kariye gave six persons (known as the Portland Six) $2000 each, for the purpose of financing their travels to Afghanistan, where they were to join al Qaeda and Taliban forces in their fight against American troops.
One of the six, Jeffrey Battle, described the Islamic Center of Portland as being “the only mosque to teach about jihad.” Battle stated that he had “talked to Kariye about jihad,” that Kariye “had fought in the jihad,” and that “Kariye told his followers they should fight with other Muslims in Afghanistan against Americans.” Battle further stated that Kariye had provided “$2,000 for each of the men and the money was acquired from members of the mosque.”