Somali President Calls Clerics to Join the Fight Against Al Shabab

Somali president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. (PHOTO: THE PRESIDENCY)

Somalia’s president has challenged religious leaders and clerics to speak out against the extremist ideology of the terror group al-Shabab.

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud met religious leaders in Mogadishu Tuesday and updated them about military offensive against al-Shabab in central regions.

Mohamud urged religious leaders should come out openly and speak out against violent extremism which has harmed the country’s peace and stability for decades.

“We want you to come out and tell the population that what these people are spreading is not Islam. They can call themselves whatever they like but must be called out that what they are doing is not Islam. It’s the time to tell them that,” Mohamud told the clerics.

Some Somali clerics have openly criticized the group’s beliefs and the violence perpetrated on the population in the name of Islam. The group has made those clerics a target.

“I know you speak about their vice and if they found you, no one of you will be alive. But tell our people not to give their money to these people, not to join them and not to kill. The government is fighting the group and we are committed to eradicating terrorism in the country,” Mohamud said.  

In August, the government launched military operations in some parts of the country to flush out al-Shabab, and the campaign has attracted clan elders and militias. 

On Sunday, government officials said they killed at least 200 al-Shabab fighters in the Hiran region in central Somalia.