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A letter by M. M. Afrah to the editor of Coast Express newspaper published in Mombasa (Kenya)


Following is a letter by M. M. Afrah to the editor of Coast Express newspaper published in Mombasa (Kenya) in which he puts the record straight. Mr. Afrah is currently on whirlwind tour but will return to as soon as possible.

The Webmaster

To the Editor

Toronto Dec. 10, 2002
Coast Express,
Mombasa (Kenya)

Referring to the chain of articles in the Western press, accusing Somalia of habouring Osama bin Ladin's Al-Qaeda terror network, particularly those who crossed the porous Kenya/Somalia border to attack the Paradise Hotel, as one who covered Somalia for Reuters news agency for more than two decade, I'd like to set the record straight for the interest of truth and justice.

Al Qaeda, and for that matter, the terror suspect Osama, will not last five minutes in war-torn and lawless Somalia, because the country is awash with weapons of all types and calibers and it is common to see boys as young as 12 or 13 shooting at anything that moved, Mad Max-style, in order to prove their manhood.

As a matter of fact many of these youngsters are apprehensively waiting to earn the 25 million dollar bounty on Osama's head. Foreign terrorists in Somali will stand out like a sore thumb. The overwhelming majority of the Somali do not know who Osama is and what he stands for until the American press gave him unprecedented media blitz. Since then there have been few admirers of Osama in places like Mogadishu, the Somali capital. But then there are also admirers in Washington, London, Paris and other Western capitals. There are even American Talibans and Al-Qaeda trainers!

Of course there are terrorists in Somalia who are more lethal than Al-Qaeda, but these are homegrown and enjoy killing innocent people in the name of their clan. No Somali terrorist worth his camel milk would ever fight in other people's wars. The fact is that none of the people who committed the dustily crime against the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington DC was a Somali national.

But it seems the court of world opinion has pinned the blame of crime committed by few Muslims squarely on the shoulders of all Somalis and other Muslims. If that is not the case, it sure feels like it.

The fact is that, people in Somalia are busy slaughtering each other and have no time for international terrorism. As for the Al-itihaad group, believed to be affiliated with Al-Qaeda. The simple truth is that this group ran out of steam and no longer commits acts of terrorism any where in the world.

Muslims everywhere continue to denounce all terrorist acts, no matter who commits them. The taking of life is not permitted in the Holy Quran, whatever the cause, unless it is self-defence.

Mohamoud M. Afrah,
Toronto (Canada)


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