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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

AL-ITIHAAD - (Hizbu Da’wah) the US Circle That Recruits Somali Suicide Bombers?

This article appeard on the fifth of October 2009 in Hiiraan Online, and appears to be a reprint of an article by Abu Raas Hasan, who publishes the aburaas Blog. In it, he describes the people, organizations, and methods used to recruite American-Somalias into Jihad.

He has written previously about Hassan Dahir Aweys, with particular effort to assign blame for the current state of Somalia. I have been unable to corroberate his entire chain of events an d conversations, but they are generally consistent with other events I have found from other sources.

-Shimron Issachar




Since 2006 when the Somali conflict became well-known to me, I started a very extensive research which I shall demonstrate throughout this article. My research included reading countless number of articles, books, and as well as listening to thousands of hours of audios. In addition, I have observed much in the media concerning the missing Somali men (or boys)—some who were reported to have become the first suicide bombers that ever carried American passports. A lot of these men (or boys) had links to the Somali Diaspora in Minnesota, San Diego, Portland, Seattle, and Ohio. After researching the lives of these young men, I was stunned to find out that none of them had the traits of extremists. For this reason, I started to wonder as to exactly how these youths became so fanatical in such short-time that they would perpetrate such evil practises. Just to give a quick example, many of these youth had facebook accounts whereby they posted their pictures! Hence, I started to ask myself, ‘what terrorist puts his pictures on facebook?’…things were not adding up. In this paper, I will expose some of the elements that were a crucial to the radicalization of these youth.We should all asks ourselves the question, who sent our youth to Somalia so that they could become terrorist? Because so many people are scared of this question, I have taken it upon myself to clear this matter and to provide some tangible answers in which we may rely on. Many will rush to criticize me and call me names, but my intent in writing this is, first is, to please Allah, and then to show the true reality of certain organization within our community. In other words, I have no concern over other people feelings because our own dignity as Somali people is in great jeopardy, while also the name of our beautiful religion is tainted.

SHORT HISTORY OF AL-ITIHAAD aka AL-‘ITISAAMI n the early 90s when the ugly civil war erupted in Somalia, the members of the Islamic movement called, “al-Itihaad al-Islaami” held an emergency meeting on whether they should take part in the civil war or not. Interestingly, amongst the top leaders of this group at that time was nobody else but Mr. Hasan Daahir Aweys. A group of people from the members of al-Itihaad al-Islaam refused and thus were either expelled or left the group because they saw the civil war as a ‘fitnah’ (trails) between fellow Muslims.

  • At this point it was clear that certain figures such as Mr. Bin Laden had made contact with Hasan Daahir Aweys and other elements within the al-Itihaad al-Islaami group. The evidence for this is the fact that Mr. Bin Laden himself speaks of it in some of his audios.
  • When the civil war broke out, Mr. Aweys and his group decided however that they would join the war and thus ended up deploying their military might in what is known as the ‘Araale’ bridge. This is the first military operation that was ever conducted by al-Itihaad.
  • What was also interesting was that their claim that this was a part of ‘global Jihad front,’ although, all parties involved in the war adhered to the Islamic tenets. This campaign miserably failed and Al-Itihaad did not achieve much progress.

Almost a decade later, Mr. Hasan Daahir Aweys is back to square-one again in mobilizing his militia to successfully drive-off the warlords who controlled Southern Somalia.

  • For the first time, he had actually completed what seemed to be a successful military campaign against his foes. But we all witnessed that it was short-lived after Aweys’ hunger for power and his eyeing other regions of Somalia caused him the biggest loss ever as the Ethiopian army once again invaded Somalia.
  • The Ethiopians have always proofed Aweys wrong by showing that he was only capable of fighting his fellow Muslim brothers in the battlefield.

As a result of Mr. Aweys weird military tactics, a new group is born. They are young; they are motivated by the whole chaos in Somalia. They look to the east for leadership, as Mr. Aweys has failed them too many times…they see Bin Laden. The appearance of this group is mostly due to that fact that people in the ‘Jihadi’ movement were fed up with Aweys as he always aligned himself with his tribe. This group calls themselves “Harakatu al-Shabab al-Mujahideen.”

Mr. Aweys and others amongst his group (al-‘Itisaam) fled to Eritrea where they formed a lose alliance with many different groups including those very warlords they had once fought in the streets of Mogadishu. Aweys’ alliance included secularist who did not even support the idea of a ‘Sharee’ah state.’

  • This left many wondering as to what his true intentions were as one of the members of the alliance was a former war-lord named Hussien Aideed. The infamous character is responsible for the some of the worst atrocities that has ever occurred in Somali soil, yet, Mr. Aweys saw him fit for his alliance.
  • Not only this, but Mr. Aweys made takfeer (lit: excommunication from the fold of Islam) of Hussien Aideed for supporting the government and for also saying that both countries would turn into a single country. Anyhow, Mr. Aweys led the Ethiopians into Somalia, then all of the sudden, he is in Eritrea—relaxing in one of the most beautiful cities in earth, and all this was at the expense of the blood of the innocent Somalis.

President Sharif Ahmed who was once part of the Islamic Courts Union broke up with Mr. Aweys for several reasons. It was mainly due to the fact that they did not even belong to the same ideological group.

Mr. Aweys is al-‘Itihaad while Sharif Ahmed is from al-Islaah. To cut the story short, Sharif took the place of old Mr. Abdullah Yusuf and successfully made the Ethiopians leave Somalia soil only leaving behind the AMISON troops that numbered 8,000.

In brief moment after the Ethiopians pulled out of Somalia, Mr. Aweys shows up in Mogadishu with a smirk in his face. In matter of weeks, him and his rebellious ‘offsprings’ (i.e.al-Shabab) attacked Mr. Sharif’s government and battle continues until today.

  • As we speak, Mr. Aweys is trying hard to unite with al-Shabab and has said this in the media several times, but only time will till their true fate. But if you ask me, I highly doubt that Bin Laden, who is the legitimate leader of al-Shabab will ever allow this to happen.
  • The proof for this is the latest fighting that is occurring in the port city of Kismayo between Hizbul “Islam” and al-Shabab militia.

COMING TO THE WEST

  • Back to the beginning of the civil war in Somalia. Al-Itihaad or al-‘Itisaam first came to the west along with the Somali migrants.
  • Some of them even boldly lied about their clan status so that they could be admitted as refugees to the United States. Take the example of a man by the name “Shayk” Ibrahim who was deported after government found out that he lied concerning his status. He is now in Ethiopia heading ONLF, the al-Itihaad branch.

This is just one of the cases amongst many. Upon arriving in the west, they were able to use community funds to establish a chain of mosques across the west.

  • For instance, in the United States, they were able to build mosques in Minnesota, Ohio, California and Washington.

One of al-Itihaad’s representatives for the west was “Shayk” Muhammad Idrees.

  • He was a deputy to the main leader in Somalia, Mr. Bashir Salad. Mr. Idrees is no longer in America as he has fled after his activities were detected by government radars. Many believe that Mr. Bashir Salad along with Mr. Idrees, and “Shayk” Ibrahim were behind uniting all of the mosques in American under what they called, “Golaha Imaamyada” (lit. Umbrella of Imaams).
  • After the disappearance of Mr. Idrees from America, nobody really knows who the new deputy is, but many speculate that it is probably one of the local Imaams in either Nashville, Tennessee or Saint Paul, Minnesota. I say it is the ‘Shayk” Abdirahman in Minnesota and this is only for the blind to see.
  • The main important thing here is the fact that this group remained a secret club in the Somali community; and for this reason, it has become diffuclt for many of us to identify who is who.

CONNECTIONS BETWEEN AL-‘ITISAAM IN SOMALIA AND AL-‘ITISAAM IN AMERICA

Now, you are probably wondering how such connections can be made. Allow me to demonstrate. When Mr. Hasan Daahir Aweys was exiled (or fled) to Eritrea, guess who paid for his expenses there?

  • Yes, it was members who attended local Somali mosques around North America and perhaps they might have been running the mosques...And you know what, that money came out from the pockets of innocent Somalis who had no idea what this sinister group was up to; and that they only paid this money in good intention when they were told that money was being sent to “orphans in Somalia.”
  • Moreover, an associate of mine called me in one late evening to share with me something very interesting. It was Mr. Hasan Daahir Aweys doing a phone conference with bunch of Somalis from North America (the phone number had an area code 612!).
  • This is one of the famous conferences rooms where lectures are broadcasted and many attended.
  • The conference had a moderators who would put forth questions to Mr. Aweys while others advised Mr. Aweys to be patient…one particular individual said, “O Shayk, supplicate for us.”

Now, do you see the connection here? There must been over hundreds of people logged on to that conference room. It was also in this particular phone conference room that I listened to a gruesome discussion concerning some events that took place in Somalia.

  • It was when a group of women, Mogadishu residents to be precise, were cleaning the streets, when one of these fanatics (al-Shabab) attacked them with bombs which caused them to die. So, one of the particular nights, there was much discussion in the room concerning this topic to point that some of the people showed dislike of such actions.
  • Interestingly, an individual logs into the room while the conversation is still fresh and claims that he “had just spoken to Mogadishu and that those women who were targeted worked for the Ethiopian kuffar.”
  • Then, many people started to say, “Maashallah.” I felt so sick to my stomach that I decided to never attend this conference room again, and that I was even more determined now to expose those who were promoting these sick ideas.

WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE RADICALIZATION OF OUR YOUTH?

With all this in mind, we shall move on to discuss how these young men became so radicalized that they would actually go thousands of miles to war ravaged Somalia in order to slay innocent Somalis.

No doubt, there are individuals who are promoting extremism in the midst of our community, but by what median are they using to lure all these youth. This is very simple to explain.

  • The youth are divided into two categories:One type of youth is those who are able to understand the Somali language easily and can listen to lectures in the Somali language.
  • On the other hand, you have the second type of youth who can only understand the English language as they spent most of their life in the west.

With regards to the first, they listen to wide number of lectures in Somali language. And I am not afraid to name the speakers.

  • Hasan Daahir Aweys
  • Hasan Turki
  • Hassan Hussien Aadam,
  • Muhammad Abdi Umal

are amongst some of the audio tapes that are widely listened to by the Somali speaking youth [who attend al-‘Itisaam controlled mosques in North America).

Furthermore, all of Hasan Daahir Aweys and Hasan Turki’s lectures are underground and that they are not published openly (as both men are on FBI most wanted list).

Next, Hassan Hussien Aadam is the main speaker and all time favorite for many youth because of the fact that this man enjoys a quality that no other Somali “Shayk” enjoys. He is charismatic, funny, and young.

It is my personal belief that he is the most to radicalize the young Somali speaking youth—He uses all types of median to reach his audience be it, DVDs, Audio cassettes, and internet conferences (i.e. via Paltalk).

In one of his audio tapes, he says that the whole World is darul Kufr, while also in another tape he claims that Saudi Arabia is the land of kufr even though Mecca and Medina are located there.

Shayk Muhammad Abdi Umal on the other hand is also one who enjoys the support of large audience. Many youth are fond of his lectures in which he preached Jihad and by the way, most of his lectures with regards to this topic are pre-dated in the early 90s. In the past couple of months he has become very critical of the way al-Shabab and other fanatics in Somalia are operating, however the case, many Somali youth are still being lured to listen to his old recorded lectures and because they are widely accessible through audio recordings and internet.

One of the main reasons for his split with this group whom he once called “mujahideen” is that he feared the Kenya government as there was a lot of reports indicating that he was radicalizing youths.

Some even accused him of helping to fund the war in Somalia. However, I must state that these are baseless claims.On the other hand, the second type of youth as we have mentioned have no idea of the Somali language, yet, they still become radicalized. So, how does this happen?

  • Let it be known that even for the English speakers there are such materials that can turn an innocent Somali-youth into a kamikaze-like terrorist who is only quenched by the blood of the innocent. Interestingly, I have observed that these individuals are using a person by the name, “Shayk” Anwar al-Awlaki.
  • He is an American-born of Yemeni decent who somehow became radicalized in a very strange way (properly due to the fact that most of what he knows about Islam is self-taught). This man openly promotes suicide-bombing and boldly claims that it is part of Jihad! He also started to interfere with the affairs of Somalia when al-Shabab came into the picture. And for this reason, he became well-respected by Somali fanatics everywhere.
  • In his website, he gives them counsel and tells other Muslims to aid them in their “Jihad” against the “infidel” government of Shayk Sharif Ahmed. He further translated a book about “Jihad” written by, al-Qeada member named, Yusuf al-‘Uyaree (who was shot dead by Saudi security forces!). He is currently located in Yemen where he records lectures online in conference rooms.
  • Uponing visiting his website, I was surprised as to how many Somali youth were listening to him. And surprisingly, many of the youth who left for Somalia were all fans of al-‘Awlaki.

Thanks to this man, there are Somali youth who were on drugs six months ago and are now talking about martyrdom-operation through suicide bombings.

For starters, one could observe the website called, al-qimmah, where Hassan Hussien Aadam and Anwar al-‘Awlaki are some of the all-time favorite speakers. Hassan Hussien Aadam wrote a lengthy treatise declaring the government of Somalia to be disbelievers and this can be viewed on that website for anybody who can read the Arabic language.

In addition, there are letter of thanks from al-Shabab leaders to Mr. Anwar Awlaki thanking him for his counsel.

WHO IS WHO?

So who are these individuals and what organization do they operate in? Allow me to introduce the ‘Wolf in Sheep’s clothing.’ In my research, I also focused on the different groups that exist amongst the Somalis. There are four main groups, and they are

  • a.) al-‘Itisaam (formerly al-Itihaad)
  • b.) Soofiyah (they call themselves ahl Sunnah wa Jama’ah)
  • c.) al-Islaah (former al-Ikhwaan al-Muslimeen)d.) Salafiyah (opponents call them, salafiyah Jadeedah).
  • The aforementioned groups all control different mosques in the Somali communities throughout the United States, Canada, and United Kingdom.

However, our main concern is the group called al-‘Itisaam, as all of the youth who went to Somalia for “Jihad” are linked to their mosques.

  • None of the other groups supported these fanatics. It is also interesting to note that out of all of these groups, al-‘Itisaam are the ones who are pushing an agenda and that they are also the most organized in comparison to the rest of the other groups. For example, a number of years back, they were able to unite all of the mosques that were controlled by them via what they called, “Golaha Imaamyada” (lit. The Umbrella of Imaams). In this way, if something was to happen to any of them, they could hire powerful lawyers to represent them through the support of the community.

Like it or not, Al-‘Itisaam are the wolf in Sheep’s clothing. They have exported the ideas of Hasan Daahir Aweys, Hasan Turki, Hassan Hussien Aadam and the rest of the preachers of hate to the innocent Somali youth in the west.

  • That is way I am not surprised when FBI is questioning them at the airport.

AL-‘ITISAAM DECIEVES PEOPLE

  • Recently when all this came to light, they (al-‘Itisaam members in US) started to condemn these youth and free themselves of their actions. How can they condemn terrorism in America while they are committing it in Somalia?
  • Many mothers are without their children now and members of al-‘Itisaam continue to enjoy wearing their white thobes with nice salaries. This is injustice. And quite honestly, I don’t blame the mosque per say as it is only a physical structure, but I blame those men who are hiding inside the mosques claiming to be community leaders.

Let me reiterate that the mosques were established as places of worship and not for some ‘secret club’ with a political agenda.Recently in Columbus, Ohio and many other cities in North America, they (al-‘Itisaam) started to make all this noise when one of their leaders was detained by authorities while he was on his way to “hajj.”

They organized a community forum in Columbus, Ohio and they were spreading and saying that, “our ‘ulemaa our being harassed by authorities.” If you ask me, here is what they’re trying to do: They are trying to make it seem as if authorities are hunting for Somalis so that they can have the community to fight for them;

I say nay, authorities are hunting for people that they suspect of being part of al-‘Itisaam and not the common Somalis. Hence, they want to use Somalis as scapegoat. I say this because we should ask ourselves the following question, how come all of the other Somalis who were going to Hajj were not detained? I hope we all see the point now here.

CONCLUSION AND FINAL REMARKS

Finally, al-‘Itisaam has always operated as a ‘secret club’ within Somali communities. They have managed to take our sons away right before our very eyes and turn them into extremists by exporting the preachers of hate.

  • We should resist this and expose them in every opportunity we get because it is true as the saying goes; they are indeed a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
  • Readers should also be aware that they have recently changed the name of their organization to the “Hizbu Da’wah” after they started to come under fire from all directions, we should not be fooled by this.
  • We should prevent them from our gatherings and our communities.

I advise my fellow Somalis to wake up from their slumber and realize that there are people who are pulling the rug under our feet. I suggest that we should purge these people from our mosques and places of worship as they are nothing but trouble. These are the very people that have destroyed our country and the blood of our innocent people is on their hands.

- Abu Raas Hasan

Abu Rass Hasan is young a true Somali in every sense of the word. He believes his people’s culture, religion, and way of live have been hijacked by warlords, fanatics, and ignorant fools. In the the year 2006, he decided to be active part of his community by bring relevant issues to the table. He currently runs the blog: http://aburaas.wordpress.com/. For any questions or comments please contact me at: raasthepirate@gmail.com

The Rest @ Hiiraan Online




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