Monday, December 21, 2009

Sweden: We Somalis must fight terrorism

Yassin Mahi Mallin (40) is an information officer and lives in Katrineholm. He has written seven books, including translating Pippi Longstocking into Somali. He wrote the following opinion piece.

We Somalis must fight terrorism.

On Dec. 3rd of this a Danish citizen came into a ceremony for newly graduated doctors in Mogadishu in Somalia. He was disguised as a woman and had his face hidden by a burka. The man was a father to children and established in Danish society, but had radicalized in Copenhagen's suburbs where he lived and took his family to Mogadishu to carry out a feat of hell when he blew himself up he also killed three ministers and young Somalis who fought to become doctors and save lives in their homeland.

I wish I could say that he was an exception. I can't. Somalis in Denmark and Sweden as well as other countries are recruited to fight in Somalia for the Al-Shabaab terrorist group.

In Sweden there lived in the past an imam I knew. He lived many years in a Stockholm suburb and had Swedish citizenship. I knew him as a friendly, football loving man, wise and sensible. He doesn't live in Sweden any more. He's in Somalia and is now one of the top leaders of Al-Shabaab, the Islamist terrorist organization.

On the net there are pictures in which he condemns four alleged thieves to have their hands and feet amputated. He doesn't only advocate Sharia, he and his peers also practice it.

I am a Somali and I live in Sweden, a land to which I am deeply grateful. Here I got a safe haven, protection and security after having to flee the chaos that broke out in Somalia almost 20 years ago.

When I look at my homeland and at my compatriots in Sweden and in other parts of the Western world, I mourn. I mourn my people, a peaceful people, a proud and hardworking people. I mourn when I see how extremism is growing among some compatriots.

We were always Muslims, but not extremists, I can't understand how it took hold among my people. My mother never wore a burka, our women were never draped in Arabic fabrics. We were and should be Muslims in our own way, not like in Afghanistan.

We Somalis, as a group, have had trouble settling here in Sweden. You have to admit that. Unemployment is high and therefore exclusion. Despair over the collapse of our country, cultural difference and the inability of the Swedish state to deal with us Somalis are some explanations.

It's as if we shut ourselves within ourselves and seek solace in a type of Islam that is really foreign to us. We have become passive, we have given up. Though the great struggles for both integration in Sweden and peace in Somalia are before us.

It's unbearable to see how my people, far too many, import the clan-thinking to Sweden and other Western countries. It's unbearable to see how Islamist extremist groups can do their work undisturbed in democratic countries such as Sweden and Denmark.

We in the moderate group of exiled Somalis, who want to create a western democracy of our homeland, are certainly many. But if I'll be self-critical, maybe we haven't organized ourselves as well as the extremists. Neither do we get the support of the Swedish state as we could have expected. Why does the Swedish government adapt, for example, to clan thinking? When they call in people for discussions, you get representative Somalis from each clan. But it's the clan thinking that has caused all the conflicts to begin with and which forced us into exile.

Somalis act by peer pressures. Often based on fear. But when that terrible Dec. 3rd happened it was as if the people in Somalia had enough. People went out on to streets and protested against the act. People didn't dare do this in the past. But now people knew that it was enough. I hope and believe that the Somalis in Sweden realize the same thing - that it's now enough.

What we Somalis need is education; education in democracy and human rights, education on how people rebuild a country that now lacks all forms of government. We've had enough of terrorism and isolation.

We can no longer sit in our clan-based Somali organizations with activities such as .. you know? .. in any case they don't aim to open up for integration or to create democratically trained members.

At the same time we also need the help of Sweden. Without supports our people will go under.

Source: Expressen (Swedish)

See also:
* Denmark: Somali suicide bomber came from Denmark
* Denmark: Somali community shocked
* Stockholm: Al-Shabab recruited at youth center (UPDATE: Hate preacher too)
* Sweden: Increased interest in fighting in conflict areas

With thanks to Islam in Europe

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