First of, Al-Islah is a thirty-four year old (one of the few Somali organizations that is in existence for that long) organization which has a written constitution that guides its members and leaders. It seems that Mr. Abukar has exaggerated the recent outburst of Sh. Garyare (the former leader of the movement 1978-1990) in which he claimed to have “dismissed” the membership of some of the leaders of the organization including the current President Dr. Ali Basha and the former President Dr. Ali Sheikh Ahmed. Sh. Garyare claimed that the two former leaders have acted outside of the bylaws of the organization.
Mr. Abukar needs to realize that aside from the drama heard on BBC and VOA, the organization is intact and there hasn’t been any exodus of members, as Mr. Abukar would love to see. The fact of the matter is, Sh. Garyare has not been in the leadership of the organization for over twenty two years, he lives in Toronto, and he (not Dr. Ali Basha) acted outside of the by-laws of the organization. How? It is simple. Anyone who understands how a modern organization works knows that; the only way to remove a leader of an organization is by vote of confidence and that never happened in this case. As far as the Shura Council of the organization are concerned (which I have confirmed with prior to writing this article) there hasn’t been such vote and all of them are (with the exception of 5 members out of 33 members) supportive of Dr. Ali Basha. For your information, these Shura Council members are elected and they come from six regions i.e. Djibouti, Southern Somalia, Puntland, Somaliland, and Ethiopia.
Mr. Abukar states in his article “Al-Islah, the internationally-recognized MB outfit, can best be described as a small organization with an elitist bent. Many of the rank- and- file members are educated and have no commonality with the average Guled or Maryam”
He also states “Al-Islah, on the other hand, has generally steered of being part of Somalia’s political process because it lacked vision, grass-roots support among the masses, and a willingness to cooperate with other–and in some cases bigger — Islamic movements in the country.”
I wonder how does the author come to the conclusion that Al-Islah has no commonality with the average Somali when it is well documented that it has members and projects in all regions of Somalia including educational institutions and health clinics.
As for the issue of cooperation with other Islamic organizations, it is a very well established knowledge among all Somalis also that; Al-Islah refused to work with these organizations due to differences in their philosophy. Al-Islah believes non-violence as a principle while the Wahabis, the Splinter Al-Islah group (the so called The New Blood) and Ala Sheikh all called for and participated in armed conflicts, which caused the lives of thousands of Somalis. In fact, if Mr. Abukar is asking Al-Islah to seek power through violence as our current President did with the support of these extremist groups, Al-Islah prefers to stay out of politics because we all know how dangerous it is in Islam to kill one innocent life let alone causing the deaths of thousands of people and driving hundreds of thousands out their homes.
Mr. Abukar also discussed in his article the candidacy of Dr. Abdurahman Baadiyow (one of the leaders of the movement) that he didn’t clarify where his campaign money is coming from and that he isn’t allowed to travel to the US, etc.
On campaign finances, if you have to know Mr. Abukar, Dr. Baadiyow has been asked this question many times and his response was that he is being funded by friends, family, Somali business men/women and others who believe in his political vision for the country. One thing is for sure, however, Dr. Baadiyow isn’t using stolen public money as some leaders are currently doing. Now that we got that question out of the way, let me ask Mr. Abukar, are you putting this same question to our current leaders i.e. the Shariifs,? Or this question is only designed for Dr. Baadiyow?
As for the report that the campaign is attempting to buy votes, this is simply absurd. Time and again, Dr. Baadiyow has called for fair and transparent elections. His previous leadership positions and management of public funds are evidence of his clean record.
Mr. Abukar also alleges that Dr. Baadiyow isn’t allowed to travel to the US, which is also unsubstantiated. Let me remind all the readers that Dr. Baadiyow is a Somali-Canadian who worked for an American NGO called Mercy USA for more than 15 years. This NGO has received and still receives funding from the US government. Also, At Mogadishu University where Dr. Baadiyow is among its founders and the President of the Board of Trustees, the US government has in the past given scholarships and other assistance. In addition, Dr. Baadiyow travels to the US for work and conferences and he has never been told by the American authority not to enter their country. I wonder where Mr. Abukar is getting his information regarding this issue? Is this a scare tactic for the upcoming parliament that they don’t elect Dr. Baadiow because Uncle Sam isn’t happy with him?
Dr. Baadiyow is known to have good relationship with the international community at large and there is no reason why he shouldn’t be allowed to enter any country.
The most ridiculous point raised by Mr. Abukar in his article is when he called Ala Sheikh and other Salafi/Wahabi groups moderate and tried to take away that from Al-Islah. This is strange because Al-Islah never advocated for violence nor did it ever participate in any armed conflict in its thirty four year old history. Instead, it always called for peaceful resolution to conflicts as well as educating the public on matters of religion and secular. In addition, Al-Islah is pro women rights and this can be seen in their institutions i.e. Mogadishu University (MU) where they actually advocate for more enrolment of female students so that women can play a major role in the development of the country. As Dr. Baadiyow himself said in a recent interview, MU female graduates in the year 2000 was about 10% where it now stands at 35%.
Please see this link on how the university is doing in this regard: Mogadishu University (MU): Young Women Scholarship Fundraising Luncheon an Overwhelming success. Moreover, any student of the modern Islamic Movement knows that when Islamist groups are classified, the Muslim Brotherhood (Al-Islah in the case of Somalia) are always seen as a moderate movement which is consistent with the teachings of Islam which promotes moderation in every aspect of our lives.
However, everyone knows that the Wahabi groups, Ala Sheikh and the splinter group that left Al-Islah (The New Blood) all have the blood of Somalis in their hands and yet Mr. Abukar calls them “moderate”.
Please tell me Mr. Abukar, are you working for Sheikh Shariif, someone whom we all know by now has not only caused a lot of deaths and destruction but has now become a well known pilferer of public funds.
Mohamed Hassan Jibriil