News / Africa

    New al-Shabab Video Highlights Trump Statement, US Police Brutality

    Web screenshot of al-Shabab video from, Jan. 1, 2016.
    Web screenshot of al-Shabab video from, Jan. 1, 2016.

    The Somali militant group al-Shabab has released a new recruiting video that highlights U.S. police shootings and the call by presidential candidate Donald Trump to ban Muslims from entering the United States.

    The video released Friday may be the first instance of a U.S.-designated terrorist group using Trump's call or other current issues in the U.S. to attract followers online.

    Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said last month that the Islamic State militant group was "showing videos of Donald Trump insulting Islam and Muslims in order to recruit more radical jihadists."

    That claim has yet to be proven. But now al-Shabab is using Trump. Its new video shows a clip of the Republican candidate reading out his demand for a ban on Muslim visitors.

    Following the clip, an unidentified al-Shabab spokesman, speaking in English, asserts that Muslims in the U.S. must choose between leaving the country or taking up the cause of holy war.

    The new video also shows instances of American police beating or shooting black males. The police footage, some of it originally captured on police cameras, has prompted a fierce debate in the United States over appropriate limits on the use of violence by police. The violence has given rise to the "Black Lives Matter" movement, which has organized protests in several cities.

    The al-Shabab video is used to argue that the United States is a deeply racist society where blacks are thrown in jail as a means of oppression. It suggests that American blacks can find solace in Islam.

    From Minnesota to Mogadishu

    A large portion of the al-Shabab video highlights Somali-Americans from the state of Minnesota who went to Somalia to fight for the group between 2007 and 2009.  

    One man profiled is Farah Mohamed Beledi, a former Minneapolis resident who was killed while trying to carry out a suicide bombing against African Union peacekeepers in Mogadishu in 2011.

    In an interview Friday with VOA's Somali service, Jibril Afyare, president of the Somali-American Citizens League in Minneapolis, characterized the video as a "desperate move" by al-Shabab.

    "They are trying to link [to] what's going on the U.S., whether it's Islamophobia, whether it be killing of African-Americans, whether it be young men in Minnesota," he said. "They're trying to link and have a buy-in from the community and therefore get more recruitments for their ideology."

    Afyare said his organization is already conducting grass-roots education efforts aimed at dissuading Somali-Americans from supporting al-Shabab, but may need to produce videos or launch social media campaigns to counter the militant group's message.  

    FILE - A February 2011 photo shows al-Shabab fighters on parade with their guns during military exercises on the outskirts of Mogadishu,Somalia.
    FILE - A February 2011 photo shows al-Shabab fighters on parade with their guns during military exercises on the outskirts of Mogadishu,Somalia.

    Al-Shabab has been fighting to install a strict Islamic state in Somalia since 2006. The group is known for its harsh punishments, such as chopping off the hands of accused thieves and executing alleged adulterers or spies.

    Al-Shabab once controlled most of southern and central Somalia but has been pushed out of the country's main cities and towns by African Union troops and the Somali government.

    It remains a potent threat, as evidenced by recent deadly attacks on AU bases in Somalia or its assault on a college in eastern Kenya last April that killed 148 people.

    The United States is offering multimillion-dollar rewards for several al-Shabab leaders, including its top leader, Abu Ubaidah.  

    His predecessor, Ahmed Abdi Godane, was killed by a U.S. drone strike in September 2014.

    VOA's Harun Maruf contributed to this report.

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    Comment Sorting
    by: Anonymous
    January 03, 2016 6:56 AM
    First in Syria and now in Africa...where will this be next?

    by: Wiggl Wagon
    January 02, 2016 11:08 PM
    Nothing anyone says or does changes the plans of terrorists to kill the infidels.

    Does the Koran really say, " Terrorize and behead those who believe in scriptures other than the Qur'an"? Is that an accurate translation of Koran 8: 12?

    by: Solaris
    January 02, 2016 3:55 PM
    What would Trump gain by instigating this wretched and distressed people called the Muslims?
    that is the question, isn't it?
    and unfortunately reaction to his call for action against Muslims helps deceitful Hilary Clinton to secretly make a coalition with Sunnis, why? because when Trumps says ''Muslims'' he simply talks about all Muslims and this unites all the Muslims against him. Muslims like Christians are from a very diversified groups of people and they have been fighting each other hard, you can see it in Iraq and elsewhere, but the reality is the majority of Muslims are Sunnis and when trump says ''all Muslims are...'' then that majority goes against him and in order to unite all Muslims Sunnis assume they have the right to massacre Shi'ites and even Armenians(Sunni Turks have massacred them once and maybe again), then this united Muslim world has enough power to make friendship with the next US president : Clinton.

    by: williweb from: Phoenix Arizona USA
    January 02, 2016 2:52 PM
    Police brutality? Got any videos of them cutting off peoples heads?

    by: Anonymous
    January 02, 2016 11:50 AM
    Muslims are simply dangerous group of faith driven religious folks on earth! Of course, all religions are danger to reason, but some are preach violence like Muslim, some teach self delusion than harming others!

    by: Luck
    January 02, 2016 11:38 AM
    Trump has a lot of money. Is there anyway he can buy the wisdom?

    by: Banh Huynh from: USA
    January 02, 2016 8:11 AM
    Donald TRUMP.he's searched QUARAN carefully before he
    announce.Trump do a good job to safe America.

    by: James
    January 02, 2016 7:12 AM
    Here is the link of Shabab video

    by: Anonymous
    January 02, 2016 4:03 AM
    Hillary Clinton gave the idea to them.
    In Response

    by: meanbill from: USA
    January 02, 2016 9:00 AM
    Hey Anonymous _ Only the Sunni Muslim extremists, fanatics and insane hear the message to take up arms in defense of their religion and Ummah, and whatever Trump does or say's will never be the (religious cause) that they will fight and die to become a martyr for, and anybody who say's that what Trump say's or does inspires Sunni Muslims to become religious terrorists are just spreading rumors and propaganda and ignorance? .. Fighting and dying because of what Trump said or did, will not let them become martyrs in Paradise, will it?
    In Response

    by: Pink from: Orlando
    January 02, 2016 8:29 AM
    And not only that, I heard she killed Vince Foster and Ron Brown...cough, cough.

    by: Marcus Aurelius II from: NJ USA
    January 01, 2016 9:14 PM
    Al Sha-bop-sha-bop is mad because Trump would make it harder to get his guys into the US until Homeland Security figures out an effective way to filter them out from the rest of the Moslems who want to come here. Sorry Al, I think a lot more Americans agree with The Donald than disagree with him and would agree to let your kind continue to sneak in. Maybe if you cut off your beards and came disguised as Marilyn Monroe that could work.
    In Response

    by: Marcus Aurelius II from: NJ USA
    January 03, 2016 10:29 AM
    meanbill, once the terrorists blow themselves up it's hard to figure out what they were, Sunni or Shia.
    In Response

    by: meanbill from: USA
    January 02, 2016 8:32 AM
    Hey Marcus and anonymous _ All the Muslim terrorists that are committing all the Muslim terrorist acts around the world are Sunni Muslims, aren't they? .. And America can give litmus tests to prove if they are a Sunni or of some other Muslim religions, can't they? .. THINK ABOUT IT? .. but who is killing all the Americans now? .. terrorists or violent criminals?

    Why worry about a few terrorist killings of Americans, when the violent criminals in America kill more Americans in (one) year, than all the people the terrorists kill in the whole world in (ten) years or more? .. America has a serious violent criminal problem? .. [and if anybody is a terrorist in America, it's a violent criminal in America that kills Americans?]
    In Response

    by: anynmous from: usa
    January 01, 2016 10:45 PM
    I agree with Trump about ban Muslim from entering Us because we do not have a litmus test to determine which Muslim is radical or not . in the same time , I do not believe that Trump is fit to be president . we need president to be objective and realistic and try to fix economic problem ,health problem .these issues are more important ,Trump is playing with the emotional of people but he has no vision to fix the economy and stop importing oil from Arab countries .heath problem become very costly that most American can afford . some people pend over $1500 on drug monthly . we can not be strong country based of screaming. Obama will leave his office with so many problems are out of control .during his turner the Muslim brotherhood has the best time to spread its deadly ideology

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