May 28, 2012
According to a former commander of the al-Shabaab organization, members of the Somali diaspora in the Netherlands, United Kingdom and United States are being actively recruited to launch attacks against these countries. The information comes from Mary Harper reporting for the BBC, who spoke to former al-Shabaab member Mohamaed Farah al Ansari. Farah al Ansari has entered a protection program with the interim government of Somalia after ceasing activities with al-Shabaab.
An offshoot of the Islamic Courts Union, al-Shabaab’s presence in Somalia consists of approximately 14,000 militants, who oppose “enemies of Islam” and combat the country’s Transitional Federal Government and the African Union Mission to Somalia.
October 9, 2010
Hassan, a Somali-born Canadian, has spent three sleepless nights and days, waiting for his phone to ring or beep with word that torture victim Ismael Khalif Abdulle had made it out. Somalia has not had a stable government in almost two decades, but the latest fighting has pitted the internationally recognized Transitional Federal Government against Al Shabab, a group of Islamic insurgents aligned with Al Qaeda. Ismael’s story was first told in a January Toronto Star article describing the rise of the Shabab.
Abdirashid Hashi, a former Toronto journalist who had moved back to Somalia to serve as a communications director for President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, had brought Ismael for an interview to the fortified Mogadishu government compound known as Villa Somalia. He wanted to get the story out about just how barbaric the Shabab could be. He believed that message was especially important for the Somali youth of Toronto’s diaspora, since at least five young men had recently left their Canadian homes, seduced by the Shabab’s call to jihad and following the paths of others from the U.S., Europe and Australia.
A Turkish minister underlined on Monday the importance of language in social integration. Turkey’s State Minister Mustafa Said Yazicioglu said that learning a language was important. “We are all aware of importance of learning a language, however it will be more beneficial if people learn a language in the country it is spoken,” Yazicioglu told a press conference in the German capital of Berlin. Yazicioglu earlier met German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble and Maria Bohmer, the German Federal Government Commissioner for Migration, Refugees and Integration. The Turkish minister said that Turkey wanted its citizens living in Germany to be active in the society, and therefore was encouraging them to learn German. Yazicioglu said that particularly Turkish young people living in Germany were unemployed, and it was possible to reduce unemployment among those people by learning German and having an occupation. Yazicioglu said that the Religious Affairs Turkish Islam Association was exerting efforts to be taken as an interlocutor in teaching of religion in Germany.
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Members of a UN anti-racism body have called on Germany to do more to integrate foreigners. A controversial citizenship test in one German state especially caught their attention. Members of the United Nations Committee for the Eradication of Racial Discrimination (CERD) on Friday, Aug. 15, said that they were concerned about citizenship application questions targeted at Muslims in the southwestern German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg. “The Committee recommends that the Federal Government encourage the use of questionnaires without discriminatory content, for all applicants for citizenship,” said the committee, according to AFP news agency. Baden-Wuerttemberg, home to car maker Daimler’s Mercedes Benz, apparently requires citizens of the 57 member states of the Organization of the Islamic Conference to answer specific questions when they apply for German citizenship.
In the run-up to the Integration Summit, an interview with Dr. Maria Bohmer (CDU), the Integration Commissioner of the Federal Government, who names education as the silver bullet.
The central challenge today is: integration by education, explained North-Rhine/Westphalia Prime Minister Juergen Ruettgers (CDU). Earlier, the cabinet approved a twenty-point “plan of action on integration”. The plan includes the development of an Islamic religious curriculum, in co-operation with Muslim organisations, to be taught in German by trained religious teachers and falling under the official school supervision system. The curriculum will be tested with pilot projects in Cologne and Duisburg. The plan of actions is also North-Rhine/Westphalia’s preparation for the forthcoming integration summit of the Federal Government on 14 July.