“O ye who believe! Ask not questions about things which, if made plain to you, may cause you trouble. But if ye ask about things when the Qur’an is being revealed, they will be made plain to you, God will forgive those: for God is Oft-forgiving, Most Forbearing. Some people before you did ask such questions, and on that account lost their faith.” — Qur’an 5:101-102
“Al-Shabaab: Somali educational improvements undermine Islam,” by Osman Mohamud for Sabahi, November 20:
Al-Shabaab first mounted a campaign in Barawe in October to scare residents off from using smartphones, warning them that the hi-tech gadgets are tools used “to spy on Muslim people”.Then the group banned Barawe residents from watching television, saying it compromises their faith.
Now, al-Shabaab is trying to convince the citizens of Barawe, one of the towns the militants control in Somalia’s Lower Shabelle region, that sending their children to school could also harm their Islamic faith, locals told Sabahi.
By one resident’s account, al-Shabaab operatives gathered locals at a public square on November 7th to incite them to defy the Somali government’s plan to improve education nationwide.
“Al-Shabaab ordered us Barawe residents to attend religious sermons that will address Somali education, which they said would be changed so that Somali people could be taught the Christian religion,” said Maryan Borow, a 34-year-old mother of five. “It was a surprise to us and we do not know where they got that idea.”
Borow said she did not think that Somalia’s citizens would ever allow curricula to be changed in a way that could hurt the religion of Islam.
“I do not believe that an entire population of Muslims can be led by their government down a path that would jeopardise their Islamic faith, but we all know what al-Shabaab wants is to make their ideology into the religion we follow and they have a wrong idea about the religion. They do not know anything about education because they are ignorant,” Borow told Sabahi.
‘Al-Shabaab will be gone soon’
For his part, Abdalla Ahmed, a 52-year-old traditional elder from Barawe, was blunt in saying that al-Shabaab were the ones attacking Somali education.
“There is no one who does not know that the group that is attacking Somali education is al-Shabaab,” he told Sabahi. “They are trying to convince the public of something that does not exist, which is that Somali education books will be replaced by books [with Christian content] that have been written and funded by infidels.”
“Where have they [seen] those books? If they were being straightforward, they would have presented them to us,” Ahmed said….