Somalia: Emerging Trends of Political Islam
By Abdurahman Abdullahi (Baadiyow)
Abdurahman M. Abdullahi (Baadiyow) is a former military officer (19971-1986), electronic engineer, Islamic scholar and politician. He obtained PhD degree in the Islamic history from McGill University in Canada and engineering degree from Somali National University. He is co-founder of Mogadishu University in 1997 and its chairman of the Board of Trustees. He is also one of the prominent political figures in Somalia who participated in the presidential race in 2012.
A militant group affiliated to al-Qaida controlling large swaths in Somalia aka Al-Shabab (the young) had been creating havoc in the whole region of the Horn of Africa. The recent terrorist action in the Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi caught the attention of world community to the dangers looming in the region and reaffirmed terrorism has no religion and ethnicity. Even though, Somalis were suffering terrorism and massive violence of human rights in the last two decades. Nonetheless, all Somalis are considered and eschewed as potential terrorists.. Despite the fact that Western scholarship on political Islam has increased exponentially after 9/11, yet, writing inside out is paramount important and may offer added value. First, will put the topic in the geographical and historical context and then pursue trends and persuasions of the political Islam connecting them to their root organization and core ideology. Background
Somalia is a Muslim country located in the strategic Horn of Africa connecting Asia, Europe, and Africa. The country was constituted from the unification of the former British protectorate in the North and Italian trusteeship administration that gained independence in 1960. However, this state had totally collapsed in 1991 ushering in gross violation of human rights, massive refugee crisis, and emergence of Islamic extremism and piracy. There is no single causal explanation for the state collapse in Somalia. Various schools of thought tend to explain the collapse of the state in different perspectives. These perspectives include Cold War and foreign aid, Somali irredentism and war with Ethiopia (1977-78), primordialism, resource overextension, moral degradation and eclectic factors. However, mismatch between the modern secular state and traditional society could be considered the original cause . Strangely, Somalia is the longest failed state even though it is bestowed all unifying factors such as common language and religion. This homogeneous ethnic group estimated to be more than 20 million people are scattered in four countries namely: Somalia, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya. It addition, more than a million Somalis live in the Diaspora mostly in Europe and North America. Besides that, only half of the Somali Ethnic group resides within the territory of the Somali Federal State.
Islam was introduced to Somalia from the Arabian Peninsula in the late 800s and the process of mass conversion of Somalis to Islam occurred between the 11th and 13th centuries. Nonetheless, the country remained peripheral and was not incorporated in the successive Muslim states until 17th century when Ottoman Empire seized parts of the northern Somalia. In the 19 century, Somalia experienced reform and revival of Islam associated with the reorientation and renaissance of the Sufi brotherhoods (SB). The advent of Sufism has been recorded since the early 15th century, nevertheless, its renewal and reform was noted from the last quarter of the 19th century to the middle of the 20th century. SBs have taken mainly peaceful approaches to socio-religious reform through Islamic propagation and spiritual revitalization. As such, they dominated religious life, reaching out to populations in the urban and rural areas alike, most of who had identified with one of the SBs by the 19th century. There are two main SBs in Somalia, Qadiriyah and Ahmadiyah, and each one has its local...
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