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Somali Journalist Warns about Islamist Designs

                            

Those in Bangladesh who might favor an Islamist government in their country (or even those who would passively allow it to happen) should reconsider that position in light of the recent Islamist takeover in the African nation of Somalia.  Somali journalist Bashir Goth wrote an editorial from his country last month to warn those who might be duped by the Islamists’ cloak or false morality and false religiosity.

“Peace is sweet,” he wrote in Awdalnews on August 26, 2006, “but peace without dignity and freedom is no peace at all. The Islamists who took the power in Mogadishu [the Somali capital] told the people to have peace, go about their business, eat and drink, conjugate and have many children, go to the mosque and pray five times a day, send their children to Madrasses where they get brainwashed and chant Koran interpreted in a satanic way by Wahhabist/Salafist clerics.”

Somalia’s Islamist radicals took power in the African country this summer after years of chaos in the streets there, corruption, and rule by various warlords.  Initially, a formally secular government took the reigns of power, which is in accordance with Somalia political tradition, but not long after that the Islamists took control.  The interim government agreed to cede power to the Islamic Courts Union (ICU), which has been described as similar to Afghanistan’s Taliban.  The ICU ousted the US-backed Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and Counterterrorism in the capital in July.  It expanded its control to elsewhere in Somalia, enforcing Sharia, bringing in weapons and setting up training camps for its own and reportedly Al Qaeda forces as well.  That forced the interim government to cede power. 

Quite a few ICU leaders have openly pro-Taliban and Al Qaeda backgrounds.  Top leader Hassan Dahir Aweys, for instance, has  Al Qaeda ties and his protege, Adan Hashi Ayro, trained in Afghanistan prior to the U.S.-led intervention there in 2001.  But people fed up with the previous state of affairs ignored that or even saw it as something positive.  But ICU actions belie that belief.  As the ICU has taken over successive provinces in Somalia, it has been more openly Taliban-like.  It has brought in other Islamists from Pakistan and Arab countries to set up terror training camps.  It has banned music and even shot two people who protested not being able to watch the World Cup semifinal.   It has become clear that whatever their publicly-stated rationale was, their real goal has little to do with Somalia and much to do with allegiance to foreign powers.

“They compare their conquest of Mogadishu to that of Prophet Muhammed's conquest

of Mecca from the Quraishite pagans,” Goth wrote.  “They believe that they are acting on God's behest and that the Almighty guides their guns. We tell them that they are not

the army of Muhammed…that prophet Muhammed didn't ban music and dance and did not in anyway deny people to enjoy the pleasures of life….Muhammed is he who said that ‘God did not send me to be harsh, or cause harm, but He sent me to teach and make things easy.’”

People can understand the radical parties’ goals, he wrote, by viewing their treatment of women, music, and ideas, which he calls “the beauty, spirit and future of any nation….

Despite their sweet talk and their modest demeanors, the Islamists have a grand agenda …to Arabize Somalia and turn it into an Islamic Emirate in the fashion of Taliban. There is already a drastic cultural erosion taking place.”

Somali women are being force to wear the burqa, “and the faithful have been told to shackle them at home.”  He also reports floggings for petty crimes and threats of the death penalty for those who do not pray five times a day.  “And above all, the Islamist Rulers of Mogadishu are liars.”  They promised to seek no further territory outside the capital but “have become so belligerent and have sent their martyrdom brigades to lay waste to any town, city or people that stand in their way. They vehemently denied any desire for power or ruling the country but all their actions show their loathing for democracy and their affinity for dictatorial powers.”  They claimed that they would not impose strict Islamic religious practice on the people but did so after taking power.

Abdalla A. Hirad, who begins his article for the Sanaag Media Network with “In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful,” wrote that “Many among the clerics in power have made statements that the Shari’a law will be applied in Somalia. Some have threatened beheading those who refuse to pray five times a day. At least one incident was reported where people were disallowed to watch the World Cup matches; and, the property of the owner in the make-shift theatre was destroyed. It is in these incidents that one finds cause for concern regarding what in the end is the goal of the Union of Islamic Courts.”

He also notes that “The majority of people…were of the opinion that the Islamists are an innocent bunch of clerics traditionally filling in the vacuum of law and order in the capital and who were caught in the situation because of an unjust attack on them by the coalition of the Mogadishu warlords with the support of the US government….Hence, it was merely a popular uprising of the people of Mogadishu against the warlords…Not surprisingly, therefore, all had come to accept the Islamists as the princes of the people, the Robin Hoods of Mogadishu—the saviors of the masses from anarchy, tyranny and lawlessness.”  And he called his people “as gullible as ever” for believing that.

With elections looming in Bangladesh and radical Islamist parties on the ballot, Bangladeshis might try to imagine their country without music or the World Cup; to ask what will happen to the many women in public life under a regime dominated by radical Islam and its own corrupted version of Sharia.  Will Bangladeshis ignore the track record of Islamists whose goals are not to benefit the nation but to serve other worldly powers?  Ultimately, we should expect Bangladeshis will not be “as gullible as ever,” like the frustrated Somalis who out of frustration allowed a greater evil to dominate their lives—something which the now-powerless population sorely regrets.

Posted on 23 Sep 2006 by Root
 
 
 
 
 


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