“They love life, we love death, the blood will continue to flow”
Those are the chilling words that often accompany the death wish that suicide bombers have, the blood bath of which they invite hapless and often innocent victims, far removed from their grievances, to partake in.
I will be the first to admit that the longer I live, the less faith I’m having in humanity and even worse am beginning to see a direct correlation between organized religions (or their misinterpretation to be precise) and the conflicts in the world.
Across the border from Kenya lies Somalia, this is a land with the dubious distinction of being one in which the study of a government of anarchy could be done practically, I recognize there’s a supposed central government in the name of the Transitional Federal Government, but anyone familiar with the chaotic political imbroglio that is the horn of Africa should know that the lame duck President of the TFG is nothing more than the mayor of a town; a besieged town.
The persons with the real say in most of Somalia are the dreaded “Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen” which loosely translates into Movement of Warrior Youth. Recent intelligence reports point to this group, commonly referred to as Al-Shabbab, as being in control of most of southern and central Somalia including the capital of Mogadishu, this in spite of the group being estimated at a paltry 4,000 to 7,000 militants.
Initially Al-Shabaab began as an off-shoot of the Islamic Courts Union which had been forcefully removed from power by the Ethiopian army, but it is an understatement to say it has morphed into an almost unrecognizable fundamentalist group, both imposing a draconian interpretation of Islamic law and waging what it calls a war against “enemies of Islam”. It has even been constantly attacking food aid organizations trying to alleviate the suffering of close to 4 million Somali IDPs, killing over 40 relief workers between 2008 and 2010.
Some of the bizarre and manifestly barbaric edicts and actions of this group include:
- A declaration of war of the United Nations and Non Governmental Organizations withing Somalia
- The stoning to death of a 13 year old girl accused of adultery, the execution was done while she was buried up to her neck in the pitch of a soccer stadium in Kismayo packed with spectators, it later emerged she had actually been gang raped.
- Recently, in the coastal town of Merca, Al-Shabaab decreed that gold and silver dental fillings were un-Islamic, and dispatched patrols to yank them out of people’s mouths using crude instruments
- In late 2009 they began the public whipping of women for wearing bras which they claimed violated Islam as they are ‘deceptive’. Gunmen were sent into the streets of Mogadishu to round up any women who appear to have firm busts for inspection to see if the firmness is natural, or if it is the result of wearing a bra. If found wearing a bra, they were ordered to remove it and shake their breasts after receiving a whipping from masked men
- The group has also banned the ringing of school bells as un-Islamic. Bell ringing is, in the words of Sheik Farah Kalar, “a sign of the Christian churches”.
- Musical ringtones are not allowed on mobile phones
- Watching sports, such as the World cup, is forbidden and two Somali men caught watching the World cup in June 2010 paid for it with their lives.
On 11th July 2010, Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for bombings in Kampala, Uganda which killed 74 people, this is especially unsettling when it is noted that as recently as 7th February 2010 the militant group declared a jihad on Kenya over what were unsubstantiated claims that Kenya was training Somali troops.
How prepared Kenya’s, or indeed our ally, Ethiopia’s, governments are regarding preventing any such threat is to most a matter of conjecture, all I can hope for is that, considering the global phenomenon of a slide towards home-grown militants, the large Kenyan population with Somali roots and who are mostly moderate will stand with our intelligence in helping put paid to the match of this extremists who have no regard for human life, including their own.
I’m not a Muslim but my research into the one religion that is a way of life and from the analysis of reading Muslim scholars it’s clear that there’s no place for wanton violence or mass murder by suicide of fellow human beings, for in Islam:
Suicide is forbidden. “O ye who believe!… [do not] kill yourselves, for truly Allah has been to you Most Merciful. If any do that in rancour and injustice, soon shall We cast him into the Fire…” (Qur’an 4:29-30).
The taking of life is allowed only by way of justice (i.e. the death penalty for murder), but even then, forgiveness is better. “Nor take life – which Allah has made sacred – except for just cause…” (17:33).
In pre-Islamic Arabia, retaliation and mass murder was commonplace. If someone was killed, the victim’s tribe would retaliate against the murderer’s entire tribe. This practice was directly forbidden in the Qur’an (2:178-179). Following this statement of law, the Qur’an says, “After this, whoever exceeds the limits shall be in grave chastisement” (2:178). No matter what wrong we perceive as being done against us, we may not lash out against an entire population of people.