Hitler helped Germany stage a surprising recovery, too. Search for “Somalia” at Jihad Watch and Dhimmi Watch to see how “moderate” the new Somali rulers really are.
“Battle-scarred nation is at peace with itself . . . but still facing war,” by Martin Fletcher in the TimesOnline, with thanks to Morgaan Sinclair:
The first surprise came when we landed at Mogadishu’s beachfront airport, freshly painted and newly reclaimed from the scrub. We were greeted by the smiling face of Abdi”Kerrim, a Colin Powell lookalike with three wives who would be our interpreter. “Welcome,” he said. “You”ll be safer than in New York.”
We were sceptical, but everyone we have spoken to since “” doctors, teachers, journalists, shopkeepers “” has talked of a city transformed. Gone are the ubiquitous checkpoints where the warlords” militias killed, extorted and stole. Gone are their technicals, Jeeps with heavy machineguns mounted on the back. The infamous Bakaro arms markets has been closed. The only guns and technicals now are those of the Sharia courts enforcers, and the reports of violence in the papers were of the Ipswich murders.
For the first time in a generation Somalis can walk around safely, even at night. Children play football in the streets. Squads of Somalis in fluorescent yellow jackets emblazoned “Employment for Peace” are removing mountains of garbage. Shops are painting brightly coloured pictures of their wares “” mobiles, satellite dishes, radios “” on their walls. The derelict port has been reopened, though every vessel must be unloaded by hand as there are no cranes, and children point excitedly at the sight of aircraft overhead.
Those aircraft are bringing back hundreds of Somalis from exile in Europe and North America. “It’s like paradise compared to even one year ago,” said Mohammed Ahmed, a doctor who used to work at the West Middlesex Hospital. “I”m feeling more safe here than in London.” The Hayat hospital where he works used to treat 20 gunshot victims a day. Last month there were two killings in the whole city….
In backing the Sharia courts last spring Somalis were not embracing militant Islam. “The population had suffered 15 years under the warlords and whoever was willing to challenge and remove them would have earned its support,” said Ali Sharmarke, who runs HornAfric, Somalia’s leading independent radio station.
The jury is still out on the Sharia courts” de facto government, but to date it has proved less extreme than its Western image would suggest.
It has banned qat, a chewed narcotic that fuelled the violence and rendered half the male population senseless, but that is akin to Western countries banning marijuana. It has banned sexually explicit films. It has dropped plans to curb media freedoms. All women now cover their heads, and some wear naqibs, but Najma Ahmad, 18, a trainee nurse, said the price was worth paying because “peace is everything”. Previously she dared not carry a mobile lest she was killed for it.
The courts have held two public executions, and hundreds packed into a public square to watch. The convicted murderers were bound, blindfolded and made to pray, then shot by an eight-man firing squad. Their bodies were dumped in a pick-up.
The Times twice experienced Sharia justice first-hand. Once one of our bodyguards accosted a driver whose car was blocking our way. We were whisked off to the nearest court, housed in an old police station. After a break for sunset prayers the two men were made to apologise to each other and released. It was quicker and cheaper than a British magistrates” court.
Later we were taken to another former police station, apparently for entering the cathedral without permission. The matter was resolved quickly, but not before we saw an alleged drug user lying on his stomach in the courtyard with his arms and legs bound together above his back.
Some reports about Mogadishu are untrue. Somalis were not banned from watching the World Cup. Dancing has not been banned. We seldom felt menaced, but Somalis are suspicious. The West did, after all, abandon them to their misery after the Black Hawk disaster. We had stones thrown at us in the Tokyo slum, and were accosted by an angry crowd in the old arms market. When we tried to interview one young SICC commander, he marched us into his headquarters and tried to convert us to Islam….
A war would play into the hands of the extremists who undoubtedly lurk behind the Sharia courts” more moderate leaders. It would bring foreign jihadists flocking to Somalia. The West still backs the official Government. Its fears that the Sharia courts could turn Somalia into a new Afghanistan may yet prove self-fulfilling.