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Toronto (Canada)

01, Nov. 2003

M. M. Afrah

As Muslims in North America desperately try to gain Americans’ trust and improve their tarnished image since the 9/11 tragedy, and hoping to stay afloat in the American melting pot, a top official in the Bush administration made the habit of bashing Islam, saying Muslims worship idols!

Suffice to say, it was the Muslim conquerors who destroyed all the idols in Mecca and that someone should have reminded General Boykin that Islam, Judaism and Christianity all share core believe and go on their knees before the same God.

Lt. General William Boykin

The General may want to know that the Muslim scripture is emphatic in its statement that God is one and one only and do not accept the Christian claim that Jesus was/is the God, or the son of God.

The Holy Qura’an refers to Jesus as “al-Masih Isa ibn Maryam”, that’s he is the son of Mary and was miraculously born the son of the Virgin Mary”. Qura’aan in Surah 5, verse 75 Allah says: “The Messiah, son of Mary, was no other than a messenger. Messengers (the like of him) had passed away before him, and they used to eat (earthly) food.” Meaning they too were human being in addition to being the Messengers of God.

Yes, President Bush said in Indonesia that he respects Islam as one of the greatest religions on earth and that many of his own citizens are Muslims.I do not for a moment doubt President Bush’s sincerity, but I should like him say these words at home and in public –especially
to the religious right in the US and his own cabinet and aides, singling out General Boykin and his cronies in the White House, State Department and the Pentagon, instead of in front of a predominantly Muslim country, like Indonesia.

And yes, to disagree with Lt. General William Boykin is one thing, reassign or reprimand him is another. This is a top Government official who openly preached that the militia in Somalia worshipped an “idol” and not a “real” God.

“I knew my God is bigger than his. His was Satan,” the General was quoted as saying. Despite outcries and condemnations, Lt. General Boykin continued to preach his anti-Islam whacking with impunity.

I do not know whether the cross (removed from classrooms in the United States long ago) is another idol. Similarly, I’ve never heard gods divided into smaller God and bigger God or a God electing a President of a country. In most cases they resort to vote buying, ballot box rigging and blackmail to stay in power.

I’ve seen so much blood in the city of bluebottle flies and shallow graves than I had ever thought to see, and the overwhelming majority of peace-loving Somalis despise the militia who massacred innocent civilians, but to say they worshipped Satan or an idol is going too far. As a matter of fact they worship the gun and get pleasure from murdering innocent civilians. They are basically murderous bandits.

Perceptibly, the general’s anti-Islam clobber will feed hatred against the United States, even by “moderate” Muslims who up to now admired diversity and religious tolerance in the United States.

By the way, I am a secular Humanist who respects all faiths on this Planet. And like Mahatma Gandhi, I strongly believe in interfaith and the co-existence of all religions in harmony, for they all worship the same God in their own different ways. When Gandhi was asked by a group of Western journalists, just minutes before a Hindu fanatic assassinated him, whether he was a Hindu, he said: “Yes, I am a Hindu but I am also a Muslim, a Christian and a Jew.” Like the United States and Canada, Mahatma Gandhi too believed in religious co-existence and diversity.

Mr. President, over to you.



The so-called peace conference is coming to a dead end and many of the militia gunmen in the capital are resorting to armed robbery, kidnapping, arson and general mayhem, joining the freelancers, because they have not been paid for more than a year, that’s since the never-ending talks started in Kenya a year ago.

Reports from Mbagathi say that the talks is now being repackaged by some stakeholders after it was bogged down and that a limp wristed cookie pusher is scared to death to tell the powerful warlords to piss off, or else….

A UN report said it would take years, hard work and money to remove the gun away from Somali politics. The 45-page report suggests that if rehabilitated and given paid jobs to the young militia gunmen and shown a life away from the gun, the warlords would be doomed to failure, and will vanish from the political map.

It is true the warlords have tanks and heavy artillery in place, but without the young militia manning and operating the death machines, the warlords will remain in limbo and are likely to solicit for a lasting peace.

Easier said than done. The thorny question is: Who is going to foot the bill, estimated at billions of dollars, or who is going to pull the string? Not the war criminals, a.k.a. the warlords. They’ve taken larceny and institutionalized it, and have already turned the country into a living hell.

The smell of money and power makes them nuts.

There’s, however, a huge gap of credibility of what has been said and done or not done. Another case in point is the work of the UN committee who was supposed to monitor the continuous flow of weapons from neighbouring countries into Somalia. For some unknown reason(s)this committee woefully failed to carry out its responsibility and name names of those responsible for the weapons proliferations.

Members of the monitoring committee do not have to be rocket scientists to clearly pinpoint the country that is flooding Somalia with weapons. But like every other UN committee this one remains in political limbo since its formation by the UN Secretary General.

It is stupid to expect financial aid and fair verdict from the UN, donor countries in the West or from the oil rich Arab countries, when we know only to well that Somalia, unlike Iraq with its oil, is poor, and you can bet your last worthless Shilling, you shall not get a fair hearing or money. Of course there are endless reports written by “experts” during a whirlwind visits in war-torn countries, like Somalia, but these dazzling reports would eventually end up in a deep freezer.

There is no country in the world that is prepared to give us gifts or loans, or establish industries in a war-torn country, unless it is well-heeled in mineral resources, such as oil, gold, diamonds or uranium. And there is no World Government that can tax the prosperous nations in order to help the poor nations, nor if one did exist could it raise enough revenue to do all that’s needed in the world. All this means that it is impossible for Somalia to obtain enough money for disarmament, rehabilitation and reconstruction.

It is even more stupid for us to imagine that we shall rid ourselves of our poverty through foreign assistance rather than our own miserable financial resources.

There are many needy countries in the world, and the prosperous nations do not relish the idea of giving gifts to the poor nations. Even within their own borders poverty still exists. A case in point is the increasing number of unemployed and homeless people sleeping in bus shelters and in street corners, waiting for death to come in the middle of merciless Arctic winter.

In addition, there are always risks on donor dependency, because donors are adept at shifting the goal posts as soon as they perceive or suspect that their vested interests are being tempered with by the government of the day.

The four prerequisites of development are different, according to Julius Nyerere, the late Tanzanian statesman; they are (i) People, (ii) Land & Sea; (iii) Good Policies & Stability; (iv) Good Leadership (transparency).

Now, is Somalia endowed with all these prerequisites at present? Good People? Yes. Land and Sea? Yes. Good Policies and Stability? Stillborn. Good Leadership? None, so far.

Cleaning Mogadishu and the rest of the country of the rubble and devastation is like cleaning post war Berlin with a toothbrush. And it takes a Marshal Plan to stitch it up together.

Despite his shortcomings, General Mohamed Siyad Barre encouraged (the word is: Ordered) the people to go to the sea to exploit the overflowing marine resources in our territorial waters —the

second longest in Africa South of the Sahara, instead of waiting for a manna to fall from the sky. The end result was that the nomads who until then reviled and despised seafood became skilled fishermen in no time. They thus kissed goodbye to the vicious circle of drought and famine that decimated their families and livestock for centuries in a row.

Speaking of marine resources in Somalia today, one man who knows in and out of the fishing industry in chaotic Somalia is none other than Mohamed Ali Jesow of Toronto whose interview appeared on this website years ago under the heading of “The Bright Side of the Somalia Conflict.” In that interview Jesow had convinced Somalis in the Diaspora to invest in the untapped fishing industry in their native country. He accused foreign fishing trawlers for illegally vacuum cleaning Somalia’s territorial waters, taking advantage of the lawlessness in the country. He also condemned the Italian Mafia, in collusion with one of the warlords, for routinely dumping toxic waste on our territorial waters.

A future government would make huge revenue if it developed re-organized fishing and protected the country’s 200 nautical miles, and in the process claim penalties. At the moment a single foreign trawler can illegally fish up to 1500 tonnes and processing the fish while Somalia gets nothing from its own fish stock.

A number of other daredevil young entrepreneurs from the Diaspora have already established small scale industries that are aimed as “import substitute” –that’s, to produce things which up to now people imported from foreign countries at exorbitant prices. They also create more jobs for those who wish to earn a decent living, away from the gun culture.

The facts are well known to all of us. Thousands of young people in villages and towns waste their time in gossip, political debates (locally known as Fadhi ku dirir), chewing that narcotic drug called khat and smoke cigarettes imported five times daily by air from neighbouring Kenya and are paid in much needed hard currency.

According to the Daily Nation, Kenya’s best selling newspaper, Kenyan farmers who grow this poison earn an estimated 150 million US dollars annually, just to pollute the soul and minds of our youth in the spring of their lives, while thousands of their countrymen and women are living in absolute poverty.

By M. M. Afrah©2003,


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