News

Al-Shabab Calls on Kenyan Youths to Revolt

A woman cradles the head of a young patient injured in a grenade attack at a downtown bus station, at Kenyatta Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya, March 10, 2012.
A woman cradles the head of a young patient injured in a grenade attack at a downtown bus station, at Kenyatta Hospital in Nairobi, Kenya, March 10, 2012.

With al-Shabab on the retreat in the face of gains by African Union (AU) forces in Somalia, the militant group is looking for new avenues to exert control both in and outside of Somalia.  The group is focused on recruiting Kenyan Muslims to revolt against, what they term, state-sponsored oppression directed against them. 

Somalia’s Islamist movement al-Shabab has distanced itself from a series of grenade and bomb attacks inside Kenya, including last Saturday's deadly explosions. However the group has not stopped recruiting Kenyan youths and calling on them to carry out attacks in Kenya.

A United Nations report released last year put the number of Kenyan youths recruited by al-Shabab at as many as 500.

Some security observers say al-Shabab has taken advantage of the Kenyan youths, who many times come from a background of poverty and limited opportunities.

Sheikh Juma Ngao, the chairman of Kenya's Muslim National Advisory Council, says Muslim youths should participate in nation building instead of fighting against their own government.

“I strongly [do] not support the call [of] al-Shabab that the Kenyan youths should involve themselves to fight the government,: he said. "This call is totally out of sight. Majority of the Kenyan muslim youths are not well educated but that is not the cause to tell our youths they must stand up and fight the government of Kenya. How can they fight the government of Kenya by killing innocent people?”

Kenya has witnessed a series of grenade and bomb attacks for the last six months, killing dozens. The Kenyan government has blamed al-Shabab.

Ngao calls on youths to participate in activities that benefit them, rather than taking part in violence and the killing of innocent people.

A Muslim youth leader involved in empowering youth in his area told VOA they are victimized by the police because of a few local individuals who have joined al-Shabab and sent video messages back home.

One of those young people who joined al-Shabab, and commands 500 Kenyan youths in Somalia, is Ahmed Iman Ali, Chairman of the Muslim Youth Centre (MYC).  According to the U.N. monitoring report, Ahmed Iman Ali used the community based organization openly in recruiting for al-Shabab in Kenya and making it easy for the recruits to travel to Somalia for training and then fighting in both Kenya and Somalia.  

Like other clerics in the region, Sheikh Ngao has stressed there is no Jihad or holy war in Somalia, but a political war.

“In Somalia there is no Jihad, in Somalia what we are witnessing is political wars among Somali tribes so anybody who is changing the perception of these political and tribe war in Somalia to a holy war he is totally out of sight in Somalia there is no jihad," he said. "You cannot preach Islam in an environment where there is no peace, so I am advising my brothers’ al-Shabab militia groups to create a space for peace in Somalia.”

It is unclear if messages like this from religious leaders will reach young members of  al-Shabab in Somalia.

Meanwhile, the al-Shabab group continues to resort to violence. And on Tuesday the group banned the British-based aid agency, Save the Children from Somalia, accusing the organization of distributing stale porridge to children, as well as being corrupt and failing to comply with the rules laid down by the al-Qaida-linked group.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs