Tackling the New Wahabi Extremism

Tackling the New Wahabi Extremism

Islamic militancy has taken root in various parts of Africa over the past decade. This problem will not be solved by the US-driven war on terror. The roots of this virulent streak of Islam need to be understood and tackled.

Africa’s menace for the coming years

By Abdul Ghelleh

SOMALIA: NOW AND THEN

If you believe that Somalia’s problems can be pinpointed to particular phenomena such as sea pirates or the terrorist group, Al Shabaab, you are being mistaken. Even the Somali clan politics, the warlords, the so-called spoilers of peace, the secessionists in the north and even the downright anarchists are neither the source nor the propellers of the Somalia conflict. These groups simply act as power brokers or supervisors for the uncontrollable events in the Horn of Africa country.

When the Somali state collapsed in 1991, the government’s social management institution – for cultural and religious guidance – which controlled what is permissible in the country and what is not – went with it. And with the lack of border controls following immediately the collapse of the Somali state, numerous foreign Islamic ideologies were imported into the country. The biggest and most effective of all, the Saudi Arabia’s Wahabi Islam (recently upgraded to Salafism) – which was not traditionally practiced by the African societies – found a fertile ground in the vacuum that followed the overthrow of Siyad Barre’s military government.

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