Mystical branch of Islam has resurgence in Somalia

24somalia.inline.A.650

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) Hundreds of sweating Sufis chant and sway as the lead sheik moves into the middle of a circle of worshipers and bursts into a chant louder than anyone else’s

Sufism, a mystical branch of Islam, is having a major comeback since al-Shabab, an armed militant Islamic group, was pushed out of Somalia’s capital in August 2011. The Sunni-Salafi insurgents had banned Sufis from gathering and prevented them from worshiping. Sufi sheiks, or elders, were attacked, graves of their saints were desecrated and rituals and celebrations became rare or secretly performed.

Beyond the circle of worshipers are dozens of women, some of them so moved that they are crying. Nearby is the grave of a Sufi saint where the worshipers go to pray to show reverence. Free food, including toasted coffee beans fried in oil, is distributed in wooden containers.

“With Allah’s wish, we are here free and worshiping today,” said Sheik Abdullahi Osman, a 72-year-old Sufi cleric, who has beads dangling from his neck. Sufis in Mogadishu spend hours fasting, praying, and invoking Allah’s name. Traditionally Sufis used sticks to protect their shrines but now it’s common to see a guard with an AK-47 slung over his shoulder in this seaside capital.
“There’s no choice other than defending ourselves and our faith,” said Mohamed Ahmed, an armed Sufi follower guarding the gathering. The arrivals were being checked and other guards stood outside a gate.

Ruqiya Hussein, a veiled woman, traveled from an al-Shabab-held town 90 kilometers (55 miles) away to get to a place of worship.

“I am thrilled to see my sheiks come back to lead us again,” she said, squeezing her henna-tattooed fingers before she joined a group of women swaying and chanting rhymes.

Sufis were known for spreading Islam across Somalia through peaceful teaching and practicing tolerance toward other faiths. Some Sufis hope that their style finds fertile ground in a nation recovering from the wounds of extremism and war.

“Unlike others we don’t kill or harass people. Instead, we provide examples of how to live.” said, Sheik Abdirizaq Aden, the regional leader of the faith.

Al-Shabab, a group of al-Qaida-linked militants that seeks to instill an ultra-conservative brand of Islam across Somalia, controlled Mogadishu from roughly 2007 to 2011. The group still dominates most of south-central Somalia but has seen its territory reduced after military pushes by African Union and Somali forces.

The Sufis in the capital now feel free to practice their faith. In central Somalia, after the graves of sheiks were desecrated and killings occurred, Sufis used weapons to kick militants out of some key towns. The conflict in that part of the Horn of Africa nation persists.

Somalia fell into chaos in 1991 when warlords overthrew longtime dictator Siad Barre and turned on each other. Two decades of violence followed, but the capital and some other towns have seen strong security gains during the last 18 months that have allowed businesses and even sports leagues to thrive.

(Source / 26.05.2013)

At least 6 killed in US drone attacks in south Somalia

At least 6 people are killed in US dron attacks in southern Somalia.

At least 6 people are killed in US dron attacks in southern Somalia.
US assassination drone strikes have claimed the lives of at least six civilians in southern Somalia, Press TVreports.

The attacks occurred early on Wednesday near a Kuda Island village, which is located in 15km from Kuda, a senior al-Shabab official Sheikh Ibrahim said. He confirmed that six people were killed and dozens of others injured in the latest airstrikes.

The official added that the US-led aerial attacks were also carried out in the south of the African country near the port city of Kismayo.

The US military uses remote-controlled drones in Somalia for reconnaissance operations and targeted killings.

Washington has been carrying out assassination drone attacks in other countries including Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Yemen.

The United States claims the CIA-run strikes are aimed at militants. But witness reports and figures offered by local authorities indicate the attacks have led to massive civilian deaths in these countries.

The UN has condemned the US assassination drone strikes, saying they pose a challenge to international law.

(www.presstv.ir / 14.07.2012)

Rechtbank: uitgeprocedeerde Somaliërs mogen niet vast zitten

Wooncaravans in Ter Apel

19 Somalische vreemdelingen die in Ter Apel vastzitten in afwachting van hun uitzetting moeten van de rechter direct vrijkomen. Ook komen ze in aanmerking voor een schadevergoeding. Dat heeft de vreemdelingenkamer van de rechtbank in Den Haag bepaald. Die hield vandaag zitting in Groningen.

De groep werd enkele weken geleden het asielzoekerscentrum in Ter Apel uitgezet omdat ze zijn uitgeprocedeerd en terugmoesten naar hun land van herkomst. Daarna zijn ze opgepakt door de politie en vastgezet in afwachting van hun uitzetting. Nu heeft de vreemdelingenkamer bepaald dat minister Gerd Leers (Immigratie) dat besluit onvoldoende heeft onderbouwd.

Vreemdelingen mogen wettelijk alleen vast worden gezet als er concreet zicht is op uitzetting uit Nederland. Dit is volgens de rechtbank niet het geval. Daarom hadden de 19 mensen nooit vastgezet mogen worden. Zij zaten sinds 29 november in vreemdelingenbewaring.

(www.parool.nl / 15.12.2011)

US terror drones kill 39 more in Somalia

A US Predator drone firing a Hellfire missile (file photo)
At least 39 people have been killed after US assassination drones launch aerial attacks on southern Somalia near the Indian Ocean coast, Press TV has reported.

Dozens of others were also injured after the remotely-controlled aerial vehicles fired several missiles, Somali tribal elders told Press TV on Saturday evening.

The incident took place on the outskirts of Kismayo — a strategically important port city on the Somali coast located some 500 kilometers (310 miles) south of the country’s capital Mogadishu.

Somalia is the sixth country, where the United States has used assassination drones to launch missile strikes. The US military has also used drones in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Iraq, and Yemen.

On October 28, Washington admitted to flying the terror aircraft from a base in Ethiopia.

“The US has unarmed and unmanned aircraft at a facility there (Ethiopia) to be used only for surveillance as part of a broad, sustained integrated campaign to counter terrorism,” said the Pentagon spokesman Captain John Kirby.

The confirmation appeared a day after The Washington Post revealed in a report that the US flies ‘armed’ drones from an airfield in Ethiopia’s southern city of Arba Minch.

Somalia has not had a functioning government since 1991, when warlords overthrew former dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.

(www.presstv.com / 28.11.2011)

US terror drones kill 13 in south Somalia

An American Predator drone
At least 13 people have been killed after US assassination drones launched aerial attacks in southern Somalia near the border with Kenya, Press TV reported.

Somali tribal elders, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told Press TV that the remote-controlled aerial vehicles fired several missiles at Buzar village, which is located close to El Wak city in Somalia’s southwestern region of Gedo, on Thursday.

They added that dozens of people were also injured in the strikes.

The aerial attacks came as US assassination drones had struck Buzar village a day earlier. At least 26 people were killed and dozens more were also wounded in Wednesday’s drone attacks.

Somalia is the sixth country where the United States has used assassination drones to launch deadly missile strikes.

The US military has also used drones in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Iraq, and Yemen.

On October 28, the United States admitted to flying the terror aircraft from a base in Ethiopia.

“The US has unarmed and unmanned aircraft at a facility there (Ethiopia) to be used only for surveillance as part of a broad, sustained integrated campaign to counter terrorism,” said Pentagon spokesman Captain John Kirby.

The confirmation appeared a day after The Washington Post revealed in a report that the US flies “armed” drones from an airfield in Ethiopia’s southern city of Arba Minch.

Somalia has not had a functioning government since 1991, when warlords overthrew former dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.

Strategically located in the Horn of Africa, Somalia remains one of the countries generating the highest number of refugees and internally displaced persons in the world.

(www.presstv.ir / 17.11.2011)

US drone attacks kill dozens in Somalia

American Predator drone firing two Hellfire missiles
Two US assassination drone attacks have left at least 75 people dead and about 80 others wounded in southern Somalia, Press TV reports.

The first strike happened in the southern town of Badheere on Saturday, killing nearly 45 people, witnesses said.

In the second attack, more than 30 people were killed in Burdhubo town, a Press TV correspondent reported.

Nearly 80 civilians were also injured in the attacks.

Hundreds of Somali troops entered Badheere following the US assassination drone strike.

The US has deployed bombing and intelligence drones in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Iraq and Yemen. Washington claims the airstrikes target militants, though most such attacks have resulted in civilian casualties.

The raids are authorized by the Central Intelligence Agency.

Somalia has been without a functioning government since 1991, when warlords overthrew former dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.

(www.presstv.ir / 05.11.2011)

US assassination UAVs kill 36 Somalis

An American drone
US assassination drones have targeted an area controlled by the al-Shabab group and killed at least 36 Somali people, Press TV reports.

The attack took place in the Somali island of Kudhaa near the country’s border with Kenya on Monday, Somali army officer Colonel Aden Dheere told Press TV.

The attack came shortly after France joined the Kenyan military operations against local al-Shabab fighters in Somalia.

At least 59 people have been killed and dozens more wounded during French military attacks on Kudhaa on the same day.

On Sunday, Kenyan army spokesman Maj. Emmanuel Chirchir said the French navy also targeted the town of Kuday near the southern al-Shabab stronghold of Kismayo on Saturday night.

Meanwhile, Kenyan troops have advanced about 100 kilometers (60 miles) into the country’s southern areas and are bracing for another round of attacks on the strategic city of Afmadow, largely controlled by al-Shabab.

The main target of the joint Somali-Kenyan offensive is to flush out the fighters from the port city of Kismayo — al-Shabab’s economic headquarters, located about 120 kilometers (75 miles) southeast of Afmadow.

The Kenyan military intervention followed Nairobi’s accusation that al-Shabab had kidnapped four European women, including two Spanish humanitarian aid workers, in Kenya over the past weeks.

Somalia has not had a functioning government since 1991 when warlords overthrew former dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.

(www.presstv.ir / 25.10.2011)

US drone strike kills 44 in Somalia

A US drone firing missiles
A fresh attack by a US unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) has killed at least 44 civilians and injured 63 others in southern Somalia, Press TV reports.

The Friday attack took place near Ras Kamboni town in the Badhaadhe district of Lower Juba region near the border with Kenya, a Press TV correspondent reported.

In a similar incident late on Thursday, a US done attack killed 22 in Kudhaa Island in southern Somalia near the border with Kenya.

Somalia is the sixth country where the US military has conducted drone strikes.

The US has deployed bombing and intelligence drones in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Iraq and Yemen to launch aerial missile attacks.

Washington claims the airstrikes target militants, though most such attacks have resulted in civilian casualties.

Somalia has been without a functioning government since 1991, when warlords overthrew former dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.

(www.presstv.ir / 21.10.2011)

Listening to Somalia

How  sad the images are ! It is as if we were looking at the past, at the  Biafra famine of the 1970s. Almost half a century later, it is as if  nothing has changed ; as if we have learned nothing beyond pious UN  resolutions. We were told that one of our main objectives in the new  millennium was to put an end to famine around the world. Yet we are far  from that goal. The basic human right of having enough to eat to survive  is still a dream for millions of African people today.

Our Somalian sisters and brothers in humanity are in urgent need of  help today. Their strategically located country has gone through recent  painful experiences and ordeals. Where is the justice in the face of  this unjust fate ? What has gone wrong in Somalia ? After poverty,  unrest, civil war, and the takeover by radical factions (acting for or  against Islam), we have reached the final stage : extreme poverty that  is killing millions of children, women and old people. In our living  rooms, even while fasting and waiting for our food to be served, we  stare at the heartbreaking pictures. How is it possible ? Is this our  world ? The people of Somalia are waiting for our hearts to open, for  our consciences to awaken. Shame on us if we fast in order both to come  closer to God and to get a taste of poverty, while showing complete  disregard for the poor and the starving of our planet !

 

Somalia needs our solidarity. It would be good for us, as Muslims, to  rethink the way with deal with zakat, sadaqa and even the slaughter of  sheep during Eid al Adha (the Feast of Sacrifice). This would be a way  of reminding the faithful that there can be no faith without concern for  the poor. The point is not only to show solidarity by assisting the  needy, but also to show respect by helping people become autonomous and  free from others’ charity.

These are exceptional times. Muslims should take the lead by paying  their zakât (purifying social tax) and their sadaqat (voluntary alms) to  organizations that promote projects in the countries like Somalia. It  should be both emergency support and long-term commitment to social  services, schools, local development projects, etc. In two months, the  greatest Islamic festival will take place. Instead of slaughtering  millions of sheep, Muslims are allowed to send an equal amount of money  to Somalia to feed the starving. These individual and small-scale ways  of supporting the people of Somalia are not going to change the  situation, but they do offer a humanly and spiritually vital means of  personal involvement. They gave a sense of human communion and  individual commitment that should nurture the life of dignified women  and men throughout our fractured world.

The Somali people do not need our charity however. As we are  mobilizing to help them to survive, we should turn towards our  respective governments and ask them not only to assist the country now  (by sending few million dollars or food), but also to act in a  responsible way with viable long-term strategies. What is unfair about  the situation in Somalia is not the fate of its people, but our  continued and unjustifiably passivity and acceptance of an inhuman  economic order. It is too easy to blame “their destiny” and to weep over  “their fate.” What is wrong is a global system within which rich  countries throw away thousands of tons of wasted food while others are  starving to death. Instead of useless UN resolutions, and fine words of  solidarity, we need to undertake serious reforms of the economic order,  radical reform.

People are celebrating what some analysts call the “Arab spring.”  Arabs are freeing themselves from political dictatorships and years of  alienation. It would be good to see, as a response to the plight of  Somalia (and so many other situations of extreme poverty), Westerners  freeing themselves from a mindset that takes such poverty (and their own  prosperity) for granted. How refreshing it would be to witness a  “Western fall,” where the hearts and the souls of the rich raise to the  basic human awareness that tells them that their wealth is a shame if it  is acquired through the undignified treatment of two thirds of  humanity

Source: http://www.tariqramadan.com/Listening-to-Somalia.html

(Facebook / Tariq Ramadan / 08.10.2011)

Somalia and Gaza will miss Eid celebrations, UAE paper

WAM Abu Dhabi, Aug. 29th, 2011 (WAM) — As millions of Muslims around the world prepare to celebrate the joys of Eid Al Fitr, a couple of areas will miss out on these celebrations. The people in Gaza and the Horn of Africa will not be part of the celebrations not by choice but by circumstance. Hence, it is important that they receive the maximum support and help that they need, commented a UAE daily.

The facts and figures on the situation in the Horn of Africa are shocking and striking. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that the number of people affected by the food shortages has increased from 10 million to 12.4 million. In addition, children are gravely affected by the situation with about 2.3 million acutely malnourished according to the Unicef, said Gulf News in its today’s editorial.

The situation is in fact bleak, as Unicef says that more than half a million of those children face the risk of death if immediate intervention is not pursued. There is no doubt that the drought seen in Somalia, Kenya, Djibouti, and Ethiopia is the worst that these countries have faced in 60 years. And the prediction is that this situation will not improve any time soon rather the drought conditions for the next months will take a turn for the worse.

“The situation in Gaza is also miserable as Palestinians face daily challenges with their attempts to go on with daily life that is as normal as it could be. But how can this be possible when Israel continues with its iron-fisted rule? Israel conducts on-and-off attacks on Gaza and Palestinians are left to accept living with the minimum of the basic needs that they require. The Eid celebrations will undoubtedly fall very short of being a celebration in full for all Muslims”, the paper concluded.

(wam.org.ae / 29.08.2011)