Yet that is the one area in which no one will engage them. Self-professed “moderates” seldom bother to explain why the ways that groups such as al-Shabaab interpret the Qur’an and Hadith are wrong, and even more seldom do so in a way that would convince an al-Shabaab member. And the government and media elites of the West simply assume that there is no problem with Muslims in their countries believing in the same Islam as al-Shabaab believes in, and they proceed accordingly.
“In prison with al-Shabab: What drives Somali militants?,” from the BBC, October 4 (thanks to Seb):
After a year locked up in Uganda with self-confessed Islamist militants, a Kenyan human rights lawyer is able to give clues as to what drove those behind Kenya’s deadly mall siege, writes the BBC’s Will Ross.
“They have a conviction that what they are doing is right and the rest are wrong,” says Al Amin Kimathi about the members of the Somali group al-Shabab who bombed bars in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, where patrons were watching the 2010 World Cup final on TV.
“The conviction comes from what they would say is an act of faith,” says Mr Kimathi.
Following the bombings, in which 76 people died, Mr Kimathi accused Kenya and Uganda of illegal rendition – arresting suspects in Kenya and sending them to Uganda without due process.
He was then arrested himself and accused of involvement in the bomb plot – a charge he denies.
Al-Shabab said it carried out the attack because Ugandans at the time made up the bulk of the African Union force in Somalia (Amisom).
Mr Kimathi’s case never went to trial and he was released in September 2011.
In prison he had lengthy conversations with the al-Shabab members, including those who planted the bombs.
“They are given quotations from the Koran, the Hadiths [Prophet Muhammad's teachings], but they do not have the benefit of a critical mind to look at it in any other context and they trust the people driving them to this,” he says….
Since this comes in his account of his conversations with al-Shabab members, rather than with people who were talking to al-Shabab members, it sounds from the context as if Kimathi said that they were “giving,” not “given,” quotations from the Qur’an and Hadith to justify their actions.
(That “Prophet Muhammad’s teachings” addition in brackets was added by the BBC, not by me.)