riyada in arabic means "training" or "discipline". It was used by the arabs in relation to horse taming. Sufis refer to their discipline as "riyadat an-nafs": disciplining the soul / training the ego. Today, the word riyada has come to mean "sports". There is an Arabic proverb that says: "The purpose of sports (riyada) is not to win cups, but to discipline the soul". This blog is here to help me discipline my soul and train my body.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

May God Protect Somalia from the Terrorists

For the last 15 years, Somalia has had no effective government. Warlords fought for control of land and power, leaving the country devastated. There was no law, there was only choas, and war, and death. And for the thousands of Somalis dying of starvation, there was little hope of international aid. Why? A representative of a Muslim aid organization that tries to help the Somalis spoke about this on al-Jazeera: trucks carrying food have to pass through tens of checkpoints all throughout Somalia on their way to the lands suffering from starvation, each checkpoint controlled by a different tribe or warlord. At any checkpoint they might be killed or the food taken. It was hopeless. Most aid organizations simply left the food in the main cities and did not dare to take it where it is actually needed, in the lands of the warlords.

Well, now there is hope. For the first time in 15 years, peace and stability and rising. The warlords have been defeated by the Union of Islamic Courts, and things are finally looking up for the country. If they consolidate control over all of Somalia, aid organizations will find it much easier to save the people who are starving.

The Union of Islamic Courts has also imposed Sharia in the capital city of Mogadishu, brining back order and justice to the lands that have been lawless for 15 years.

Residents in the nearby area have reported a drop in robberies, murder and general lawlessness since the court began its work, Radio HornAfrik said. [1]

"The Islamic courts say they want to promote Islamic law rather than clan allegiance, which has divided Somalis over the past 15 years." They have become "the most popular political force in the country". [2].

The residents of Mogadishu are "pleased" to enjoy law and order, in contrast to parts of Somalia still not controlled by the Courts, where crime is rampant. Even those residents who do not want an Islamic goverment are more in favor of having a single group or authority in control, to end the lawlessnes. "And most will prefer Islamic preachers to the warlords who have repeatedly fought over and in many cases systematically looted the city since 1991." [2].

Now the Courts have moved out of Mogadishu to other parts of Somalia and are taking control of one city after another. Their leader, Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, is what the west would consider a "moderate" Muslim. [2].

So what's the problem? America has been backing the warlords and does not want to see an Islamic goverment in Somalia. They are endangering the lives of thousands of Somalis and extending the wars and chaos by supporting these warlords.

"The US is behind the latest violence through its financial and military support of warlords and its interference in the country's internal affairs." - Somali Health Minister Abdel Aziz Sheikh Yussef [3]

What's their excuse? They don't want Al-Qaida terrorists to find refuge in Somalia!

Al-Qaida.... In somalia....



They are holding an international meeting to discuss the situation (American gov't basically chose the countries that it likes and asked them to "discuss" the issue with it). They have not invited any Arab countries to the discussion, and the Arab League is unhappy about being excluded. [4]

On June 16th, thousands of protesters have come out for the second day against US plans to meddle with the country's affairs or talks about sending international troops to take control of the country.

The protesters held placards with slogans such as "open your eyes and ears America, Sharia law is the only solution" (for maintaining law and order).... [5]

I think the following is the best way to view the situation:

Editor of the BBC Somali service Yusuf Garaad Omar says the fact that a single entity controls the capital is a huge opportunity to bring peace to Somalia.

"The Islamic courts and the transitional government need each other," he says. "One is the legal government, the other is a popular force in control of the capital."

But he warns that it is only a step forward on a long road towards the end of war.

He says the Islamic courts are likely to become whatever others want them to be.

If treated with respect - as partners - they could turn into the group which delivers the capital to the government and so end years of conflict.

But if they are viewed as a hotbed of Islamic extremism, that too, could become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
[6] (emphasis mine)


...[Roland Marchal, a Horn of Africa expert from France’s CNRS institute, who recently returned from a trip to Somalia,] said it was essential for the international community to open up channels of communication with the moderate elements in the Islamic courts as soon as possible.

“To cry that this is an al-Qaeda plot will only radicalise the population. We are busy creating an enemy that didn’t exist two months ago.” [7]

So America... keep treating the Union of Islamic Courts as terrorists and extremists, and they will become just what you are accusing them of being. But treat them with respect and allow them their space, and they will most likely work side by side with the transitional goverment to bringing peace to Somalia. After all, they can easily kick out the transitional goverment from their seat of (supposed) power [6], but they dont seem to want to do that. When there is peace, and when people are content, there are no terrorists.

O God, don't let the American gov't screw this up. Don't let them return Somalia to choas and war and suffering and starvation. O God, keep their greedy paws off Somalia. (Yes, this is about resources like Uranium, natural gas, and most importantly: tons and tons of Oil. Read "The Great Game in Somalia") And protect them, O God, from the kind of terrorism that the Iraqi people are suffering at their hands. Amen.

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Oil-rich Arab countries: You know that poem, "First they came for..."? By the time they're through raping Palestine and Iraq, then Iran, Syria, and Somalia, they'll be coming for you. Who will help you then?


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