MINNEAPOLIS – More than one hundred Somali Minnesotans held a rally on Friday to denounce Al-Shabaab, the hard-line Islamist insurgents in Somalia and a series of suicide bombings in their homeland.
The radical Islamic group Al-Shabaab has carried out several suicide bombings attacks on African peacekeeper’s bases and against government officials and clan leaders whom they suspect to be allied to a weakening Somali government led by their former ally, President Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed.
Holding signs that read “No to Suicide Bombings” and “Somalia needs peace” the protesters lined inside Peavey Park and alongside East Franklin Ave and Chicago Avenue in South Minneapolis shouting slogans in English and Somali that drew a chorus of horns from passing motorists.
The protest was organized by an ad hoc group of young Somali activists who live here in the Twin Cities. Abdinasir Ghelle, one of the organizers said the rally was to express the community’s condemnation and opposition to suicide bombings. “This turnout shows that Somalis in Minnesota are against those few extremists who misuse and hijack our religion to terrorize people.“
Sadiq Mohamud of Concerned Somali-Americans in Minnesota added that Somali Americans are just as passionate about their opposition to extremists as other Americans. “Somalis in Minnesota don’t condone extremism and it’s about time we let our fellow Minnesotans know that,” he said.
The rally was also attended by Imams, the Muslim religious leaders from several Mosques in the twin cities. In the recent past the imams from the Abubakr-As Siddique Islamic Center have come under intense scrutiny by the media and both local and federal law enforcement agencies for being involved in the disappearance of young Somali-American men who it is alleged they sent off to fight at the side of al-Shabaab extremists in war-torn Somalia. The imams have continued to distance themselves from the kind of violence exhibited by Al-Shabaab.
“Suicide in killing oneself is condemned by Allah and The Quran does not promise Heaven to those who commit suicide but rather the wrath and the condemnation to Hell, and if you kill others in suicide bombings, the punishment is even more,” Omar Hurre, the director of Abu-Bakr-As Siddique Islamic center told the protestors.
Imam Hassan Mohamud of the Islamic Dawah Center in Saint Paul urged local Somalis to work hard to pacify their homeland and the Somalis in Somalia through non-violence means and to engage in dialogue. The Imam challenged Al-Shabaab fighters to put down their weapons and to spare the lives of innocent civilians in Mogadishu, the bullet-ridden Somali capital.
The recent fighting between Al-Shabaab and forces loyal to the Somali government in Mogadishu has forced more than half-million civilians to run away from their homes.
The Imams in the rally reiterated their opposition and condemnation against suicide bombings one by one in series of speeches.
Amira Adawe, one of the organizers who lost family and relatives in the latest suicide bombings in Beledweyne, a town in central Somalia promised more rallies and forums to come to encourage the Somali community in Minnesota and beyond to be united in condemning suicide bombings and acts of extreme violence in Somalia.