Al Shabab and the Kenyan Fall Out

Many right-wing political analysts as well as anti-Shari’ah supporters have jointly promoted the Kenyan Mall attack, as an attack by Muslims on an innocent civilian population. However, a careful study on the attack and on Somalia’s long fought civilian war, paints a much different picture than a prima facie analysis by pseudo-intellectuals who only seek to drive their own popularity based on the abuse of fear and emotion (argumentum ad baculum). The Somalian issue which has birthed a great humanitarian and economic crisis in the African continent. Untold numbers have been massacred, and the added pain of piracy has forced the African Union and Somalia’s neighboring countries to enter into the Somalian civil war.

Somalia’s political crisis did not begin last year, it began in the year 1960 when the Italian and British Somalilands were combined to form a new independent nation. The borders however still existed, the North and the South, the British versus that of the Italian communities. Removing a border line on a map and telling two separate and distinct groups of civilization with fundamentally varying ideologies (democratic-capitalist versus socialist-communist) and forcing them to live together paints a very hazardous image. A rebel coup by a socialist general plunged the decay of Somalia into a fast paced mode on the road to destruction – an eventual clash of civilizations that has persisted to this day, some 23 years later.

A look at the current map of Somalia still shows just how politically, economically and ideologically the nation is divided:

Wikimedia Image

Wikimedia Image

Given that a significant majority of Somalis are Muslim, or practitioners of the Islamic faith, it therefore becomes highly irresponsible to paint every Somali as a terrorist or as a member of al Shabab. Furthermore, it can be understood that the infighting in Somalia is clearly a political issue to gain control of territory and to exercise power over the fragile populations. Seeing as Shari’ah was already designated by the constitution to govern most of Somalia, it’s quite erroneous to claim that the political factions have been fighting to establish it, as it was established in 2006 and ratified in peace and coalition deals in 2009.

The Kenyan attack, should therefore be seen as a response to the Kenyan intervention into a politically hostile neighboring country. The Times of India reports:

Somalia’s al-Qaida-inspired al-Shabaab rebels said the carnage at the part Israeli-owned complex was in retaliation for Kenya’s military intervention in Somalia, where African Union troops are battling the Islamists.

Why is this therefore being painted as an attack by Muslims on non-Muslims, when the persons allegedly responsible, claim for themselves that their motivations are political? It must also be known that the majority of Somalians declare the Shabab group to be unIslamic and to be a threat to the religion of Islam, the BBC reports:

Some 160 Somali religious scholars have issued a fatwa denouncing al-Shabab, saying the group had no place in Islam. Correspondents say it is the first time Somali religious leaders have come up with a fatwa against the group, which controls many rural areas.

At a conference on the phenomenon of extremism in Mogadishu, the scholars said they condemned al-Shabab’s use of violence. Despite being pushed out of key cities in the past two years, it still remains in control of smaller towns and large swathes of the countryside.

One of the aims of the conference was to issue Islamic opinion on whether the group had legitimacy or not, with the final fatwa concluding that it is not an Islamic movement, Sheikh Hassan Jaamai told the BBC. “It’s like a gang that comes together to kill Somalis… without any legitimate reason or justification,” added the Islamic scholar, who flew over from the US to take part in the conference.

“The only thing they want is to create chaos in the country so that they can survive, ” said another participant from the Gulf, Sheikh Abdikani,

The fatwa against the Shabab also states:

At the end of the four-day conference, the seven points of the religious edict were read out by Islamic scholar Sheikh Abdirizak Ahmed Mohamud:

• “Al-Shabab has strayed from the correct path of Islam, leading the Somali people onto the wrong path. The ideology they are spreading is a danger to the Islamic religion and the existence of the Somali society.

• “The Somali government is an Islamic administration; it is forbidden to fight against it or regard its members as infidels.

• “Al-Shabab, an extremist group, must atone to God and must cease its erroneous ideology and criminal actions.

• “It is forbidden to join, sympathise or give any kind of support to al-Shabab.

• “It is a religious duty to refuse shelter to al-Shabab members, who must be handed over to Somali institutions responsible for security.

• “It is a taboo to negotiate on behalf of al-Shabab members in custody or release them from jail.

• “Somali officials have a religious duty to protect the Somali people from the atrocities of al-Shabab. The Somali public also has an obligation to assist the government in its security operations against al-Shabab.”

The political mess that is Somalia, has been birthed by the ideological boundaries created in Europe, imported to Africa, developed by the Somalians and has for the time being, culminated in a region wide war that will persist, given the militant tendencies of the various factions fighting for their independence and right for self governance in the Horn of Africa. A responsible and intelligent individual, will not paint all Africans as violent thugs, nor all Muslims or Somalians as terrorists, as the evidence demonstrates facts to the contrary. If the LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army), a Christian led militant organization can be held to be an unChristian movement by Christians and accepted as such by right wing political analysts, why can’t the Shabab be seen – as it has been declared by the majority of Somalians as an unIslamic group, threatening the religion of Islam?

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s