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Al-Shabab: The Interdependent Stages of Radicalism

Tarabi A. Jama
Tuesday, September 04, 2018



Islamism practically implies awakening the next generation of Muslims to embrace Islam and adhere to its fundamental principles. The contemporary Islamists revival is being advertised and perceived by the masses as a way of life, which protects Muslims from the Western political and economic domination. It’s also presented it as religious, social, and political tenets established by early Muslims.


Islamic movements in the 20th century appear in the forms of either political or religious intolerance though not all reformists would seek to achieve their aspirations through violence and hostility. As a matter of fact, Islamists are not all after the same thing. What we do know though is that Islam came to challenge one’s awareness and to keep human upon the straight path until the end of time. Unfortunately, Al-Shabab’s protocols in many ways are seen heavily structured to restrict one’s consciousness.


Following the Somali state collapse in the 90s, warlords were full of military stragglers and engaged in conflicts of urban warfare with each other that left mass killing, high incidence of rape, poverty, and displacement that affected the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. However, there is a strong feeling that Al-Shabab has become an all-time catastrophe that Somali people are living through. Today, it appears that Al-Shabab retreated many parts from Mogadishu, the capital city of Somalia, but the fear still remains, so the purpose of this writing is to give the reader a good picture of Mogadishu’s security stagnation caused by the missteps of the ineffective Federal Government of Somalia.


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counterterrorism program lead by the Federal Government of Somalia is supposed to be one that puts off radicalism believes. Sadly, the reality in the ground is quite different due to security overlapping and lack of clarity in roles and responsibilities. The pain and the promised of change by the Somali government are not significantly expected to make a difference in the foreseeable future. I’m utterly flabbergasted by the current broken security given the millions of dollars are spent on the ineffective apparatus used for combating terrorism.


I say this because often and many times, indicators that are used to identify terrorists’ circumstances supposed to be different from the social violence prevention ones caused by tribal casualties, illegal arms trafficking, or drug-related violence. This is misinterpreted and an unproductive way of thinking. The Somali people need a program that calls for different kind of fights, one that starts with changing adolescent’s attitudes toward extremism way of thinking and believes.


Who is really in control in Somalia? Somali is going through very difficult times. And we have a federal government that doesn't have actual power to control its borders. Matter fact, Al-Shabab is the de facto ruler of many areas in South-Central of Somalia. The federal government of Somalia merely controls Mogadishu and its surrounding areas with hundreds of security checkpoints, yet ordinary people get killed on streets, in restaurants, and in hotels through explosives. An example for this is the Mogadishu’s truck bomb on October 2017 where the death toll passed 500 people, the terrorist attack that recently took place nearby the entry of Villa Somalia and many others.


The paramount safety concern is the security infiltration into frontlines where Mogadishu is vulnerable to attack. Indeed, there is a debate of what constitutes terroristic threats. For a while, the uplifting security program is broken from top to bottom and not producing convincing results, so I have no doubt in my mind that some infiltrations are caused or motivated by money or political motives. The Somali people including politicians should have the right to complain about security failure without fear or threats.


What’s needed? The time of totalitarianism, where the government controls all aspects of the people’s lives ended. After decades of war and anarchy, people have spoken and chose political doctrine of constitutional law under which the branches of government: executive, legislative, and judicial are kept into separate to prevent power abuse. It's about the time the House of the People of the Federal Parliament and the Legislative Powers of the Upper House of the Federal Parliament should take one step further and open investigation for the security infiltration. 


The Somali people are expected from the Ministry of Internal Security and The National Intelligent to make the counterterrorism policy the cornerstone of its programs. Unfortunately, many of us don't see it something worked by others. Also, why there is no book-length treatment of Al-Shabab’s philosophy in our universities and other academic literature?  I believe that to be unclear the fabric of Al-Shabab's nature is the biggest obstacle facing our security agencies. What is needed though is awakening the spirit that is within our reach so that our security entities have the necessary tools to identify the terrorist’s action plan and preparation.


The literature of Al-Shabab’s isn’t a new phenomenon, but the continuation of Wahhabism’s believes and patterns of Saudi Arabia that was found in the 18th century to wipe out open-mindedness people who’re willing to listen to different opinions in Islam. Ironically, Wahhabism is the only religious institution that Saudi Arabia recognizes formerly to spread out its rigid ideas of Islam. Its principles are far from the Shafi’i mainstream School of thoughts in the Sunni branch of Islam that Somali people abided for centuries. Ill-advisedly, Wahhabism became the “de facto state” at some point in the 90s for the government institutions demolished where its teachings later turned into conventional. 


Despite the security worsening, I must empathize with the diverse challenges that are facing to security agencies. That security personnel is the most legendary champions in my book for putting their lives on the forefront, but they have to be adequately trained. I would also like to express my gratitude and appreciation to African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) and the other international community that continuing Somalia move forward. Their military and financial injection put Somalia’s national security plan into weight. AMISOM boot-on-the-ground allows many people to travel inland for the first time in decades while others were reached out for food and shelter assistance due to food insecurity, famine adversely and humanitarian interventions to those affected by the tribal warfare.


Have we asked our selves,what Al-Shabab wants. "Al-Shabab contends to build similar to that network of Al-Qaida into the Horn of Africa. Radicalism is one of the cross cuttings issues that have a severe challenge to our Somali youth and adolescent in mosques, in schools, and throughout the social media. Al-Shabab established a blueprint and strategies to pull off such hallucination thinking. It posted interdependent stages to individuals enlisted to become new members. Unfortunately, neither of the youths have sufficient knowledge of Islam, nor they understand the Classical Arabic language that the Koran/Quran is written on. I, however, believe the ministry of education should take extremism’s interdependent stages into serious consideration. The below examples are the major interrelated stages used by Al-Shabab for radicalism recruitment: 

     To interpret Islam with the intention of trapping youths and adolescent into the line of terrorism. To use verses from the Koran/Quran and the other literature in Islam out of context to justify their rhetoric sentiments.

     To inspire and engage marginalized groups in Somalia.

     To rehearse Islam's seedy expansion cyclically in the 8th century also known as the Golden Age of Islam where they prospered in many ways in a time when most of Europe lived in Dark Ages, which marked constant warfare.

     To rehearse army conflicts that Ahmed Ibn-Ibrahim Al-Ghazi known “the conqueror” had with Abyssinian currently called in Ethiopia, in which he defeated several Ethiopian emperors of Adal war.

     To personify the self-determine struggle of Dervishes in the 20th country led by Sayid Mohamed Abdulle Hassan, a religious leader contrary to British colonization in the Horn Africa, whom the British referred him to as a Mad Mullah.

     To Engage adolescent for the civilian casualties caused in by the foreign airstrike drones in the South-Central of Somalia that sometimes creates displeasure outcomes.

     To inspire and engage youths in the Diasporas who appears personal dissatisfaction from the societies they live in for not having sustainable lifestyle due to school dropout, theft, drugs or involve gun-related violence.

     To inspire those in the Diasporas who are socially and politically feel less fortune and who want to develop a sense of adventure.



     The counter-terrorism mechanism must be given to a whole new approach that identifies elements of threats and the environment extremism nourishes. In other words, this means establishing Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force that organizes efforts, studies spread of terrorism circumstances, and comes with action plan.

     The Ministry of education should find out whether extremism teachings are taking place in our schools. And if so, textbooks and other materials that promote hatred and violence must be confiscated.

     The Parliament of Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security should appoint a national commission on the terrorist attack and security infiltration. This means confiscating former Al-Shabab members and corrupt police officers from the security agencies. This step is the most important because security clearances must be granted on an as needed basis not necessarily their kin relationship to the top government leaders.

     There has to be security clearance process that is undertaken when someone is hired or transferred into a position that requires access to classified information. 

     There has to be a system and procedure where the security agencies are more answerable to the parliament. Similarly, The Ministry of Internal Security and The National Intelligent should give evidence to the joint committee on the national security strategy.

     The Ministry of Education, Culture and Higher Education of Somalia must take a journey of one thousand miles, one that starts with educational standardization, developing core curricular competencies, and course objectives for the k-12 schooling. For decades we turn a blind eye on Al-Shabab and other extremists' literature that affected hundreds of thousands of children.

     The ministry should have a curriculum that focuses not only the traditional courses of math, science, and language, but also social studies of citizenship, government, and economics to make our children more competitive and successful.

     The ministry of religious affairs should appoint religion education committee that regulates and oversees religion jurisdictions and activities. All religious organization shall register with the state committee before any practices. The committee should set standardize national test for Islamic knowledge and the Arabic language both oral and in written for anyone who wants to preach.

     The Somali parents and the community leaders should talk radicalism publicly and privately without fearing intimidation or bullying. They should address sources that put youth and growing disconnection from their societies.

     Parents should have the ability to identify rhetoric literature that is focusing too narrowly on specific aspects of Islam that those extremists are using to justify their cause of violence. They have to engage their children’s teachers in schools and mosques to find out whether faith reinterpretations are taking place. This step is significant because the narrative of the jihadi-driven mindset to wage a holy war to their follow Somalis and to others in a way to guarantee one’s salvation in the afterlife must be stopped.

Tarabi A. Jama

Email: [email protected]

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