London - The only two athletes representing Somalia at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, Mohamed Hassan Mohamed and Zamzam Farah, have formally requested asylum in the UK. The pair claims that they cannot return to Somalia or they will likely be killed by Al-Shabaab.
Saturday, August 11, 2012
by Dalmar Gure
In an interview with Universal TV in London, Zamzam Farah said that she was receiving a lot of threats through Facebook and on through the telephone. Her parents who remained in Mogadishu have also been harassed with phone calls intimidating their daughter. They have been told that what she has done was not a good thing and that when she returns they will” take further action against her”.
The group is infuriated at Zamzam specifically for carrying the Somali national flag during the national ceremony and “exposing herself in front of the world” during her 400m race. Despite the fact that Farah is a practicing Muslim who wore a headscarf during the race and ran with both her arms and legs covered. Amazingly, she also ran while fasting in observance of the holy month of Ramadan.
Her counter-part Mohamed is also allegedly a marked man and has been told that there “is a cross on his head and if returns to Mogadishu, his head will be no more.”
The threats come to no surprise for both athletes who have been under constant threat and pressure since even before the games. The looming danger forced them to train in hiding, sometimes in the former training centre for the same militants they were are trying to dodge.
In April, the president of the Somali Olympic Committee and chief of the Somali Football Federation were killed in a suicide attack in Mogadishu by Al-Shabaab. The extremist group opposed any activities they view as “Western” or propagated by infidels.