(08-02-24) MOGADISHU (Halqabsi News) — Sheikh Mohamed Shakir Ali Hassan, a senior leader of the Ahlu Sunna Waljama’a, on Thursday called for increased involvement from government ministers and members of parliament in the fight against the militant group Al-Shabaab, emphasising the role of the Somali president in leading the charge.
Addressing attendees at a meeting focused on escalating the war effort, Sheikh Shakir criticised the lack of visible commitment among Somalia’s political leadership compared to the president, who he noted, appeared visibly aged and battle-weary at public engagements. “I have seen the president, his hair long and grey, at the forefront. Yet, our ministers and parliamentarians seem to be absent from this struggle,” he remarked.
In his speech, Sheikh Shakir outlined a dual approach to eradicating the threat posed by Al-Shabaab. He advocated for empowering the Somali populace, particularly through arming and supporting local leaders and scholars in leading the fight. “The battle can be won with the people’s strength, under the guidance of our scholars, with the government providing the necessary armaments,” he stated.
Furthermore, Sheikh Shakir highlighted the importance of an ideological battle against Al-Shabaab, calling for Somali intellectuals to develop counter-narratives to challenge the group’s extremist ideology. “To defeat the ideology of Al-Shabaab, we need a powerful counter-ideology, crafted and led by our scholars,” he asserted.
Sheikh Shakir’s call to action comes amid ongoing joint military operations between Somali government forces and local militias, which have succeeded in recapturing significant territories from Al-Shabaab. His remarks underscore the pressing need for a united front that combines military, community, and intellectual efforts to secure a lasting victory over extremism in Somalia.