The old name meant “The Youth,” in the most common translation in the American media. Now, they’re going for the image of a more mature bloodthirsty, paranoid jihadist thug. “Al-Shabaab terrorists change name which means ‘lads’ because its leaders are all getting old,” by Dan Newling for the Daily Mail, December 6:
Somalia’s Al-Shabaab terrorist group has changed its name from ‘The Lads’ in an attempt to project a more mature image.
The military group, which is responsible for killing thousands in Somalia’s 20-year civil war, announced the name change this week.
It will now call itself Imaarah Islamiya (The Islamic Authority), the Somalia Report news service said.
Mukhtaar Robow, a spokesman for the group said: ‘Al-Shabaab means “youth” but many of us, including the leaders, are very old so we want to change the name to Imaarah Islamiya.’
And unlike the group Menudo, they can’t just swap out a member when he hits a certain age.
The announcement came after the militant group held a week-long meeting at Baidoa in the war-torn country”s south west.
At the meeting, the leaders discussed the recent setbacks that have seen it seed control of territory to the international-community-backed Transitional Federation Government.
Al-Shabaab’s full name is Harakaad al-Shabaab al-Mukaahidiin (Movement of the Warrior Young Men).
‘Al-Shabaab’ is an Arabic word which translates as ‘Male Youth’, ‘Boys’ or ‘Lads’.
The 14,000 strong group was formed in 2006 after Somalia’s then-dominant Islamic Courts Union was removed from power in the country.
Its stated aims are to control Somalia, establish it as a ‘pure’ Islamic state and to wage holy war against the ‘enemies of Islam’.
Designated a terrorist organisation by most western governments, it has kidnapped and murdered foreign aid workers and is alleged to be involved in piracy.