“A youngster of 24 years old, a graduate of Nairobi Law Faculty, belonging to a good family, the son of a senior state executive, handsome, rich, smart, cultured, social, extroverted, joyful, self-confident, hard working, compliant, well groomed, stylish and classy, one who liked to play billiards.”
Such a man was Abdirahim Mohammed Abdullahi according to the description of his friends; they called him by the nickname ‘Ababmo’. His profile is totally opposite the bloody murderer or villainous terrorist image people have in mind. Still he was the terrorist leader who killed 148 people consisting mostly of students in Kenya’s Garissa University on April 2nd. He was captured dead together with other militants of Al-Shabaab organization after they brutally massacred the young students on the university campus.
At this point these questions come to mind: How come a promising bright young man undergoes such a huge change? How can he turn into a terrorist programmed to kill and die? Why is he so full of hatred to be able to ruthlessly kill innocent students of his own age?
Al-Shabaab is a Somalian -based terrorist organization that recently made a name for itself with its inhumane actions. Its militants threaten neighboring Kenya at every possibility. They want to accomplish indeed what they have put into words as ‘We will hit the Kenyans where it hurts most; we will turn their cities into graves, rivers of blood will flow’. The university attack is Al-Shabaab’s “retribution” for Kenyan military’s operations on Somali soil. Yet the actual reason should be sought in the radical ideology of Al-Shabaab. The transformation of young people into terrorists is in line with the strict and bigoted ideology of the organization.
The primary goal of Al-Shabaab is to recruit militants from young people. It continues to collect young Muslims to its ranks not only in Somalia, but also in Kenyan cities. Abdullahi of Garissa Massacre infamy is just one of these people. A shocking truth is spotted when observing the profiles of these recruited young people. These people are not dropouts, poor, unemployed or marginal people who grew in refugee camps or suffered severe pain. On the contrary, they are all too often young people successful in all aspects of life.
The Somalian or Kenyan young people who have joined radical terror organizations have no expectation of money or else in any material sense. In addition to this they abandon their wealth, career and other earthly goals altogether. They mistakenly assume they will gain the consent and mercy of God and Paradise by fighting in the ranks of Al-Shabaab and killing and dying. Yet they are in grave fallacy.
Al- Shabaab takes Al-Qaida and IS as an example both ideologically and in practice. It aims to overthrow the Somalian government and found a bigoted and totalitarian state in line with their ideology. For this reason it considers slaughtering innocent people, resorting to violence and all manner of atrocities as theologically permissible. They foolishly presume that the commands of God and Islam religion necessitate that practice. Yet the actual source of their pervert ideology is mawdu hadith [fabricated hadith wrongly ascribed to Prophet Muhammad (saas)] and the superstitions fabricated under the pretense of religion. Some so-called Islamic scholars with bigoted mindsets continue to sow seeds of hatred and atrocities based on these false narrations allegedly belonging to the Prophet (pbuh). These people – who have insufficient or erroneous knowledge of Islam – surmise that it encourages the shedding of blood, the despising of women and disapproves of art and science. However, this is diametrically opposed to the teachings of the Muslims’ Holy Book, the Qur’an. The Qur’an commands Muslims to be forgiving, to esteem women highly, to be protective of them and compassionate towards them and to be interested in science. However, the majority of Muslims are unaware of this as they have abandoned the Qur’an itself and taken superstitions as the true path.
The Kenyan government stated that the Garissa attack was planned by an Al-Shabaab director named Mohamed Kuno. Kuno is a Kenyan from Somalia origin. He has a striking feature at first sight; he was the director of a madrassa in Garissa until 2007, and later after going back to Somalia joined the radical armed groups. It is not difficult to image Kuno’s fanatical educational program to train radical terrorists there.
The Kenyan government took some precautions against radical terror organizations after the university attack. These include building a hundreds of kilometers long wall on the Somalian border and military responses like bombing Al-Shabaab camps. Another one of these solutions to terror is the closing of refugee camps on Kenyan soil, which would be devastating for hundreds of thousands of Somalian refugees who live under harsh conditions. Measures like threats, bombs and hardship will on no account alter the mindset of these fanatical militants, but will only motive them even more.
In light of the above, Kenyan authorities should at all times act wisely and sensibly and not get carried away by feelings of hatred and revenge. The only way to struggle with the radical ideology of Al-Shabaab is to preach the true Islam and to raise them with the morality of Islam that rests on love, tolerance, respect and compassion. What should be done is to communicate that the values claimed by the extremists are not in conformity with the Qur’an and follow-up with a comprehensive and rapid education program. It must be made compulsory that Islamic institutions provide an education program that is based on the Qur’an only and free of superstitions while the rest of the public should be told that the Islam found in the Qur’an is in no way compatible with radicalism. This will not only eradicate the peril of radicalism but it will turn the Islamic community into extraordinarily peaceful, democratic, secular, high quality and artistic people.
This is the only way to counteract the ever-growing radicalism and terrorist groups. If these are not taken into account and the futile, well-known old policies are insistently followed, recruitment to Al-Shabaab will increase and similar terrorist attacks will continue to escalate and radicalism will be nourished even more. Unless the underlying credo of terror and radicalism is not answered, the suffering of the peoples of Kenya and Somalia will never cease.
Adnan Oktar's piece on Diplomacy Pakistan: