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Religion and politics
Somalia is at the Horn of Africa where it projects into the Indian Ocean and today it is an incredibly unstable country, beset by extreme violence and lacking central authority in the form of a national government. In fact, chaos, anarchy, and factionalized fighting between warlords have been the normative state of affairs in Somalis for more than 15 years.
The current government – known as the Transitional Federal Government was installed in Mogadishu in December 2007 with help of Kenya and Somalia. Ethiopia has historically been the traditional enemy of Somalia and this is certain to hurt the credibility of the current regime among Somalis.
It must be noted that chaos remains supreme and the transitional authority is unable to maintain law and order. Its current grasp on power is tenuous at best (Perry, 2008).
A country is predominantly Islamic with a few Christians and dismal numbers of other religions. Owing to the religion and the rules of the religion that allow men to marry many woman, there are increasing large numbers of people owing to increased birth rates. Sometimes the never-ending wars in Somalia have been attributed to religion and not necessarily due the need for power and authority (Farah et al, 2004).
Somalia has been a country where terrorists have been training. There was speculation that Al-Shabaab was involved with the AL Qaeda. This was because of the approaches that they have been using which are rather similar. These include using weapons of mass destruction like bombings and terror attacks.
These have also involved abductions, kidnappings and assassination, which are similar to the way that other branches of the al-Qaida have operated. However, the recent announcement by Zawahiri confirmed that the terror group was part of AL Qaeda. The Al-Shabaab in Somalia, an affiliate of the al-Qaida, has been known for abducting innocent people and asking for ransom from their respective families (Lewis, 2009).
Al-Shabaab solely believes in Islam. The main aim of the organizations “is the overthrow of what it sees as the corrupt and heretical government of Somalia, and their replacement with the rule of Sharia” (Islamic law). They think that their belief should only be about Islam and it should be the only religion within the Muslim communities. The group believes that their culture and religion should not be affected by other factors.
They want Islam to be the sole religion of the Muslim people especially within the bound of their own land. They wanted their people to follow the rules of Islam and abide by its laws. The group “use terror for the attainment of their goal of the overthrow of what they perceive to be ‘heretic’ regimes and the establishment of an Islamist regime in such countries” (United Nations, Security Council, 2010).
They believe that if people are afraid then they will follow them and will not try to rouse any movements against them. They do not desire any influences on their religion, they want Islam to be sacred.
Al-Shabaab intends to eliminate the Western influences. This group is against anything that affects the nature of their culture and their religion. The group has believed in Jihad, their Holy War, for eliminating the Western influences in the Muslim countries. They think that through their radical movements they will be able to obtain the support of all the Muslim people (Murphy, 2007).
This group considers that force should be used to eradicate the Westerners from their communities. Al-Shabaab is extremely against the Western culture and everything that is connected to it. These Muslim terrorist group desires to acquire the sovereignty of their own land. They wanted to rule their own country and remove the allies of America in their communities (Human Rights Watch, 2008).
Law enforcement is a major player in the livelihood of human beings and ensures that people live in harmony as well as making sure property is protected. However, for many years there has been law and order in Somalia. Since there has been failed rule of law the seriousness of a crime committed are great.
There is return of normalcy in some parts of Somalia after intervention of Ethiopia, Kenya and African union. The people of Somalia are witnessing law and order in Mogadishu and southern part of the country.
Analysis and recommendations
Somalia is majorly a Muslim country despite existence of a minority of Christians. Terrorist activities are often attributed to the religious desires of the Muslims in ensuring it remains purely Muslim State. Such a mindset is conservative and so long as it persists, the country will never make any meaningful development. It encourages the citizens of the country to dwell on trivial matters rather than engaging in lucrative activities.
The Jihad war has the tendency of bringing all the economic activities that shape the economy of the nation to a standstill. In this light, the economy of Somalia is bound to deteriorate further. In addition, the unstable political situation in the country interferes with the normal running of the day to day activities. Hospitals are not able to render the much needed health care and this will result in numerous deaths.
Moreover, the religious culture that approves polygamous marriages will lead to an increase in the population. Since, the political instability does not favor the education process; a majority of the children born will not receive any form of education. The economy of a state with an illiterate majority will stagnate with no hopes of revival.
The Transition government’s inability to contain the Al-Shabaab may have acted negatively on the country as a whole as its former allies are beginning to turn against it. For instance, the recent terrorist attacks by the Al-Shabaab in Kenya have prompted the very country that has often negotiated for its peace to turn against it.
For the past three months, the Kenyan Army with assistance of Ugandans and Ethiopians has engaged in ugly battles with Al-shabaab in an attempt to eradicate them. These terrorist activities may ruin Somalia’s international relations particularly with its neighboring countries.
Presently the war has led to an influx of Somali refugees into Kenya. Moreover, the world’s super power, the U.S has continued to put demands on the government to stop breeding a terrorist training area. Should all the pleas fall on deaf years, the U.S government may be compelled to intervene as it did in Iraq (Perry, 2008).
For Somali to escape the looming calamities, it should consider reforming the nation. The government should stop defending the Al-Shabaab, as in the recent Kenyan case and instead join the fight to eradicate this group. Neighboring countries are more than willing to combine efforts in achieving this common goal.
Secondly, the government should organize peace campaign throughout the country advising the citizens to work together in spite of their religious differences. A reconciliation process that begins in the villages and works its way up should be instituted to help these people forgive one another and work in unison to build a new Somalia.
It should then ensure there are enough schools to enhance the education of their youth and hospitals to offer medical care. Through these measures the country can model its future leaders in the best manner possible.
Similarly, the police depart should be reformed so as to help enforce law and order in all corners of the nation. A proper judicial system should be set up to try those who defy the law particularly all the Al-Shabaab remnants.
This will eradicate the people’s fear for the group and help them embrace the new reign whole-heartedly. Once these measures are in place, the Somali may enjoy a life they have not experienced in their country for the last two decades.
Farah, K., Nyariki, D., Ngugi, R., Noor, I., & Guliye. A. (2004). “The Somali and the сamel: Ecology, management and economics.” Anthropologist, 6(1), 45-55 .
Human Rights Watch. (2008). “So much to fear”: War crimes and the devastation of Somalia. London, UK: Human Rights Watch.
Lewis, L. (2009). Understanding Somalia and Somaliland: Culture, history, Ssociety. New York, NY: Columbia University Press.
Murphy, R. (2007). UN peacekeeping in Lebanon, Somalia and Kosovo: Operational and Legal Issues in Practice. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
Perry, F. (2008). “In Somalia, a fragile hold on power”. Time Magazine, p. 3.
United Nations, Security Council. (2010). Report of the monitoring group on Somalia pursuant to security council resolution 1853. New York, NY: Security Council.