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Friday, November 29, 2013

Somalis: The most entrepreneurial people in Africa • Ethiopian News Forum

Somalis: The most entrepreneurial people in Africa • Ethiopian News Forum

They might be shocking at ruling their own country and taking orders from their leaders but it is due to their entrepreneurial spirit that the Somali grew up with the mentality of leadership. When you have leadership drives you also have entrepreneurship with it because you don't want to take orders from a 'boss' so you go out and set your own business even if its a taxi. Somalis have a thing with taking orders.

Here we go. The list is long but I will just take one or two from each country in the region.

Lets start with Uganda.

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City Oil Ltd owned by Hassan Ahmed, a Somali spent a lot of his time in Uganda.

Hassan Ahmed, a Ugandan Somali, and Director of the prominent Somali-owned City Oil franchise, hints at the secret behind Somalis’ success in business. “Somalis have always had links to many areas of the world”, he says.

“With that link, they are able to have very good sourcing. Every time you source well, it will result in benefiting the consumer, because you are able to bring the costs down.”

That strategy bodes well with Uganda’s consumers who depend heavily on imports but whose purchasing power is low. It also explains why Somali businesses have become an accepted part of Uganda’s commercial life, covering essential services like fuel stations, foreign exchange, money transfer, and supermarkets.

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Oasis Centre Mall (above picture) - Kampala, Uganda - cost over $25 million and owned by Amina Mogeh Hersi, a Somali born in Kenya, whose father made riches in the cement industry.

This is the owner below. She is whose who in Uganda and has dinners with the elite of East Africa including Somali presidents when they visit Uganda.

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Amina has launched several multi-million dollar projects in Kampala, Uganda,[1] such as the luxury mall the Oasis Centre and the Laburnam Courts. She also runs Kingstone Enterprises Limited, one of the largest distributors of cement and other hardware materials in Kampala. In Uganda they call her Mama Harris.

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Gateway - Uganda

The rise, fall and rise of Uganda’s rich

Hussein Shire

He’s one of the quiet tycoons. He keeps out of sight and hates showing off his wealth. But when he walks into a room, his very presence whiffs of wealth.

Shire is the owner and CEO of Gateway, one of the largest bus companies in the country - with more than 100 buses operating all over Uganda.

Gateway is also the only Ugandan company that operates a service to Kenya.

Born in Tororo, Shire, a Somali by origin started his career in the transport industry, ferrying passenger in a blue Peugeot 504 car along the Tororo – Malaba highway.



Ugandan media says:

Being a resilient people, Somalis have prospered because they are willing to take risks and accept smaller profits. Yassin Mattan, Head of Business Affairs for the Somali Community Association in Uganda, explains that when it comes to trade, “everyone wants to be very competitive in terms of the pricing factor, so it’s the margin that people are looking for.

While some people are looking for a higher margin, these guys [Somalis] are looking for a lower margin. They’re looking at the turnover.”Hassan Mohammed Hersi, for example, has been Manager of Half East Forex Bureau on Kampala Road, for 11 years.


African Express Airways - Kenya

African Express Airways is the second fully Kenyan designated airline to over 30 countries in four continents. The airline is largest and oldest privately owned in East Africa based at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi.

It is owned by Captain Musa Bulhan, who is the most qualified pilot in Kenya. Only the national carrier of Kenya enjoys same privileges with this airline.

Away from public glare, Capt. Musa’s airline has a distinct characteristic-it is one of the country’s two designated carriers, the other being the national career, KQ.

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Amal Plaza - Eastleigh - Kenya

Somalis create their global commercial hub in Nairobi’s Eastleigh estate.

Immediately you step-off the noisy and brightly coloured public service minibuses, a blast of hot air mixed with dust flashes across your face and a din replaces the blaring music you’ve just left behind.

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Welcome to Nairobi’s Eastleigh estate, you are now at the global commercial hub of Somali entrepreneurship.

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Youngest female banker in Kenya and also a Somali girl.

It’s Wednesday morning inside Chase Bank, Eastleigh branch. Ibada Ahmed seems unfazed by the chaos outside on the famous First Avenue – matatus and trucks hooting, touts and hawkers calling for customers, and the hordes of traders and buyers going about their business.

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Bluebird Aviation - Kenya

The company’s chairman is Col. (Rtd) H. A. Farah, who is a 25 year veteran of the Kenyan Air force. A Somali born and raised in Kenya. He found the business with two of his friends.

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Hass Petroleum - Kenya but also operating in Tanzania, Uganda, South Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo and Somalia.

Founded in 1997 by two Somali brothers, the late Abdirizak Ali Hassan and Abdinasir Ali Hassan they took their family name HASS (Hassan).

The company recently won major agreement with the Kenyan government.

"Yesterday Hass placed a tender at the Ministry of Energy to deliver 34,143mt of gasoil to the industry through the open tender system (OTS) and emerged victorious after a fierce contest with other big names in the petroleum importation arena. Among those who placed their bids were Vivo, Ggapco, Galana, Kencor and Gulf who put their premiums at 34.78, 29.64, 37.2, 29.89, 34.46 and 30 US dollars per metric ton respectively. Hass bid the lowest with USD28.44 per ton thus saving the country millions of shillings and as a result adding the name of the company among the list of importers for bulk petroleum into the country ."

http://www.hasspetroleum.com/

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WorldRemit Money Transfer - the largest online money transfer company. Most of his clients are outside the Africans including Philipinos and others. They can transfer money online from anywhere in the world. It won awards for this.

It was founded by Dr Ismail Ahmed, a Somali from UK.

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Above: Dahabshiil CEO Abdirashid Mohamed Saeed Duale


Dahabshiil - Hargeisa, Somaliland region, Somalia.

I know most Ethiopians know this one. It was founded in the late 1970s by Mohamed Saeed Duale and today it is the largest money transfer company in the world operating over 144 countries with over 1,400 branches. All the UN and Aid agencies use it to transfer millions of dollars fro countries such as Somalia where there are no central banking or recognized government (until recently).

It handles about 60% of $1.6 billion Somalis abroad send home and all the other billions from Ethiopians, South Sudanese, Arabs etc.


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Tansoma Hotel - Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

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Owned by Somalis and the name is Tanzanian-Somali (TanSoma).

Oceanic Bay Hotel - Tanzania

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Again Somali hotels taking shape in many parts of Africa.

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Citibank CEO - Tanzania

Citi Group has appointed Mr. Jamal Ali Hussein, Chief Executive Officer for Citibank Tanzania Limited, with effect from July 1, 2010. Mr. Hussein brings to the bank over 20 years experience as an accountant, a consultant and senior banker to the local financial institution. Mr. Hussein joined the Citi Group in New York, in 1997 and served in different capacities in Trinidad and Tobago, the Bahamas, Saudi Arabia, Poland, Mexico, Britain, Indonesia and Kenya. Until his new appointment, he was CEO for Citi Bank Ivory Coast since May 2006.

He graduated from Harvard and wrote a book called 'From Nomad to Harvard'. He arrived in the US with less than $100 in his pockets.

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Hashi Energy - Kenya

Hashi Energy Ltd was established in Kenya in 1991 by Mr & Mrs. Hashi. The company was known as Hashi Empex Ltd before undergoing corporate re-branding in 2008.

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Hotel Âncora de Vilankulo - Mozambique.

Owned and managed by Abdullahi Nur Takar, a Somali.

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Transportation - Kenya and east Africa.

In the last 17 years, over ten Somali trucking companies have been formed in Kenya. With an initial capital investment of around $5 million each these now show substantial annual profits of around $20 million.

I am by now sure the Ethiopians are asking themselves what about Ethiopia and Somalis there.

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MAO Harrar Horse - Ethiopia

Mohammed Abdillahi Kahin Ogsadey (b.1920s-2006) was a Somali business tycoon based in Ethiopia, where he established MAO Harar Horse, the first African corporation to export coffee.

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If you think the Harrar Horse logo is popular here, you should see what it means in Ethiopia. Ogsadey’s reputation is legendary: first beginning as a truck driver, then becoming the first native African coffee exporter in Ethiopia, and ultimately, building a coffee empire which is famous throughout the county and the world.

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Continental Oil Company - Zambia

In an effort to expand operations in Zambia, a local firm Continental Oil Company has undertaken to invest K3.5 billion in the construction of a new filling station in Kasama to serve Northern Province.

Company representative Osman Farah said in Kitwe yesterday that, the nine- month project was expected to commence in the first week of January, 2012. Continental Oil Company is a Zambian registered company owned by a Somali with its presence in Ndola, Kapiri Mposhi and Mpika.

Mr Farah said the proposed Continental Oil Company modern filling station is located at Plot Number Six, Mbala Road in the Kasama Central Business District.

The company has fuel depots with the capacity of 2.5 million litres, while an additional 3.5 million litres would be included to expand capacity to six million litres.

Ayaan Adam - East Africa.

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Ayaan Adam is currently the Head/Manager in charge of International Finance Corporation's (IFC) Private Equity and Investment Fund Portfolio. She also heads new business opportunities in infrastructure funds, distressed assets, listed funds and other single sector funds. She is responsible for US$2.5 billion portfolio involving 160 different relationships with private equity and venture capital funds invested or investing in Asia, Africa, Europe, Middle East and Latin America.

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SBI (Somaliland Beverage Industry) - Hargeisa, Somalia

Owned by Osman Gelle family (two brothers) and is the largest beverage company in Somalia with Coca Cola investing $17 million dollars.

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Daily Paper - Somali fashion label

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More coming in the future..

Somali government must be included in development efforts — foreign minister - European Development Days 2013 | Devex

Somali government must be included in development efforts — foreign minister - European Development Days 2013 | Devex

Somalia has many challenges to fight and it can’t do it alone, but the government must be included in development efforts, said Somalian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Fawzia Y. H. Adam.

Adam spoke with Devex President and Editor-in-Chief Raj Kumar at the 2013 European Development Days about some of the challenges they face, and called on NGOs and donors to work more closely with the government.

“We request from international NGOs and donors to work with government more, also in cooperation with NGOs, but not abandon the central government because otherwise we will not stand on our feet.”

The government is committed to fighting corruption and to regaining trust, but that means citizens must provide social services.

Catch the full interview, including Fawzia’s thoughts on which donors are stepping up to aid Somalia, here.

Judge Suspends Sentencing Of Would-Be Bomber After NSA Revelations : The Two-Way : NPR

Judge Suspends Sentencing Of Would-Be Bomber After NSA Revelations : The Two-Way : NPR

The sentencing of a Somali-American man convicted of trying to bomb a holiday tree-lighting ceremony in Portland, Ore., in 2010 has been put on hold indefinitely. That move comes just days after the Justice Department notified his lawyers that part of the case against him had been "derived from" secret NSA electronic surveillance.

Both sides met Tuesday in the chambers of U.S. District Judge Garr King to discuss next steps. The judge later issued a public order delaying the sentencing of Mohamed Osman Mohamud, which had been scheduled to take place Dec. 18.

"If sentencing remains appropriate, the court will reset the sentencing hearing," after it rules on motions from federal public defenders Stephen R. Sady and Lisa Hay, the judge's order said.

The move could foreshadow months or even years of legal wrangling, if the case becomes a vehicle to challenge the constitutionality of once-secret NSA monitoring of overseas email and social media accounts.
The Supreme Court this year turned back a challenge to surveillance law by a group of human rights workers, lawyers and reporters because they could not demonstrate they had been monitored or subjected to any harm. But the fresh disclosure to Mohamud and a series of other defendants in cases where U.S. prosecutors used secret surveillance could help overcome that hurdle.

Defense attorneys Sady and Hay will file court papers seeking discovery from prosecutors early next year. The defense lawyers had no comment on the latest developments in the case. But the heart of their arguments to the Portland jury that convicted Mohamud was that undercover FBI agents entrapped him using a phony fertilizer bomb. Mohamud, 22, has been living in federal custody in northwest Oregon.

Most Somali refugees in Kenya 'fear return home' - Yahoo News

Most Somali refugees in Kenya 'fear return home' - Yahoo News

The vast majority of Somali refugees in Kenya fear returning to their war-torn country, Doctors Without Borders said Thursday, warning aid must continue despite a recent deal for refugees to go home.
Despite living in often appalling conditions in the world's biggest refugee complex of Dadaab -- home to over 400,000 mainly Somali refugees -- at least four out of five are too frightened to go back to Somalia, according to assessments by the medical aid agency MSF.
"Their reluctance to leave is despite poor living conditions in the camps," MSF said in a statement, noting that nearly half of people it interviewed said they had no means of keeping their homes dry during the current rainy season, one in ten had no access to latrines, and a quarter said they did not feel safe.
Earlier this month Kenya, Somalia and the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) signed a joint deal to back the voluntary repatriation of Somalis, which comes amid fears of a crackdown following a deadly attack by Somalia's Shebab extremists on Nairobi's Westgate shopping mall in September.
"No one chooses a life as a refugee, and most refugees struggle to get by on what the government and aid agencies provide," MSF's director of operations Jean-Clement Cabrol said in a statement.
"Any decision to return should be made willingly and gladly, and not be forced on them by a cut in aid."
Somalia remains riven by war but some areas are more stable, with a 17,000-strong African Union force -- including Kenyan troops -- wresting a series of towns from the Shebab in recent years.
Meanwhile in Kenya, rights groups have accused police in the past of a brutal campaign against Somali refugees, following a string of grenade attacks or shootings inside Kenya blamed on supporters or members of the Shebab.
"Security and dignity must be ensured for all returnees," Cabrol added. "The Somali government and its partners would need to guarantee that returnees have rights and receive assistance, while aid must continue to be provided in Kenya."

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Somalia’s Failure: A Broken System or Lousy Leaders? - FPIF

Somalia’s Failure: A Broken System or Lousy Leaders? - FPIF

In most of the world’s parliamentary democracies, it’s rare to see presidents and prime ministers bickering, since their roles and responsibilities are more or less distinct and rarely overlap. However, in many African governments, power struggles between presidents and prime ministers are quite common, even when the offices have clearly defined constitutional roles.
In Somalia, the president is the head of state. His powers include appointing a prime minister and serving as commander-in-chief of the armed forces, which includes the power to declare of a state of emergency or war. The prime minister is the chief of the cabinet, guiding and overseeing the work of the other ministers. However, despite these neatly separated roles and responsibilities, Somalia is once again having great difficulty in governing itself under a power sharing system.
Although it’s designed to encourage collaboration between clans, the arrangement has yet to produce sustainable political stability, with a rift widening between President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon. The real issue between them is unclear, but according to media reports, the president recently asked the prime minister to resign due to incompetence, while the prime minister claims that the president has no constitutional power to request his resignation. The prime minister has complained that the government cannot achieve its goals because of the slim cabinet that the president had imposed on him, which has resulted in each minister being in charge of three to four ministries.
After its independence, Somalia had a parliamentary system based on political parties. But a coup d’état in 1969 installed the Siad Barre military regime, disrupting the democratic process and eventually plunging the country into civil war. Since then, a number of power-sharing agreements aimed at resolving the crisis have crumbled.
In 2000, a Transitional National Government was established in Djibouti that ended up disintegrating due to a power struggle that began with President Abdiqasim Salad Hassan and Prime Minister Ali Khalif Galaydh. Similarly, in 2002, the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development organized a reconciliation conference in Kenya that gave birth to a Transitional Federal Government and a parliamentary system without any political party presence. The party system was replaced with a clan-based power-sharing formula called the 4.5 system, which awarded an equal share of parliamentary seats to Somalia’s four major clans, with a fifth retaining a half-share.
But something’s not working. Somalia’s three most recent presidents have each appointed three prime ministers, a rapid turnover rate indicating ongoing infighting between representatives of competing clans who are loathe to cede power to each other. As a result, Somalia has been plagued by a political process that is based on competition rather than cooperation and compromise. The current fallout between the president and the prime minister is a continuation of the political stalemate that has hampered Somalia’s progress for decades.
Meanwhile, precious time is being wasted on political brinkmanship rather than dealing with the innumerable challenges facing the country. Security, reconciliation, the economy, education, infrastructure, and healthcare are a few of the many issues that do not get addressed so long as the president and prime minister are locked in a power struggle. Consequently, many Somalis have lost faith in their leaders’ ability to unite the nation, which may lead the country towards another civil war and away from economic prosperity.
Therefore, the time has come for Somalia to try a different system of governance. Somali constitutional experts should review and amend the constitution from a power sharing system back to political party system in which a president and vice president from the same party are elected on the same platform.
The clan-based system has had its chance. Only through a party system, overseen by an electoral commission, can Somalia put together a government with the capacity to solve the country’s unique challenges—and bring about the political stability that has eluded it for the last two decades.
Nafisa G. Santur is a political researcher and conflict analyst based in Nairobi.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

KEYDMEDIA - News - The long awaited Somali Airlines is Coming Back!

KEYDMEDIA - News - The long awaited Somali Airlines is Coming Back!

A new aircraft, Somali Airlines was seen Wednesday in an airport Budapest, the capital city of Hungary, as the horn of Africa nation prepares to revive the national carrier, Somali Airlines, after 22 years of nonappearance, Keydmedia Online reports.

The new cargo airliner, Boeing 737/400 is set to be brought to Mogadishu, Somali capital by the end of next month, according to “Skyliner" aviation based in Germany.

“There is another aircraft in the airport which is yet under construction. The pair airplanes were bought by SFG for the Somali Airlines from the Slovakian SAMair company,” Zsolt Kovács, staff with SAMair ,told Keydmedia Online by phone.

Zsolt Kovács said the two aircrafts are now being  painted into the Somali national carrier's distinctive colours in Budapest city ahead of its official delivery to Mogadishu in the coming few weeks. It will be the first major airliner to fly a passenger plane to the Somali capital of Mogadishu in more than 22 years.

Last August, Somali federal government promised to revive the national carrier, Somali Airlines after 22 years, to bring back the air services for the people. Somali Airlines: The First Winner of Africa's Best Airline Service Awards.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Somalia arrives first for Cecafa tourney - SuperSport - Football

Somalia arrives first for Cecafa tourney - SuperSport - Football

The teams that are scheduled to take part in the Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup tournament which is set to kick off on Wednesday have started arriving in the country with Somalia being the first to be booked in.

The team, popularly known as the Ocean Stars arrived in Nairobi at 1300hrs in a contingent of 25 involving players and team officials.

The defending champions Uganda are expected in the country on Sunday 24 November as confirmed in a communiqué by the Football Kenya Federation (FKF). Five other nations; Eritrea, Rwanda, Burundi, Sudan and their neighbours South Sudan are as well scheduled to jet in on Sunday.

Former African champions Zambia who will be making an appearance in the tournament as a guest team are expected to show up on Monday25 November then Ethiopia will arrive a day before the tournament starts, on Tuesday 26 November.

It is not yet clear when Zanzibar and Tanzania will be arriving.

In the draw done earlier, hosts Kenya will take to the field against Ethiopia in the first game of the tournament.

Groups
Group A: Kenya, Ethiopia, Zanzibar, South Sudan
Group B: Tanzania, Zambia, Burundi, Somalia
Group C: Uganda, Rwanda, Sudan, Eritrea

AFP: First Africa-Arab summit since uprisings urges economic ties

AFP: First Africa-Arab summit since uprisings urges economic ties

Kuwait City — Arab and African leaders meeting in Kuwait on Wednesday wound up their first summit since the region's uprisings in 2011 by calling for closer economic and security cooperation.

The leaders issued the Kuwait Declaration which underlined the need to accelerate economic integration in the Arab world, which includes oil-rich Gulf states, and investment-thirsty African states.

They called for the creation of a joint "Africa-Arab Financing Mechanism" to fund programmes and projects, under a plan adopted at the last Arab-African summit in Libya three years ago.

The leaders at the two-day summit in Kuwait also called on the African Union and Arab League to coordinate with financial institutions and funds in the two regions to form a "working team" to finance the implementation of projects.

But there was no mention of any moves for an Africa-Arab common market, as recommended by businessmen.

The Kuwait Declaration strongly condemned terrorism.

It urged member states to "enhance cooperation and coordination... to combat terrorism in all its forms," and to criminalise the payment of ransoms to terrorists.

The summit was the third of its kind, and the first since 2010, when leaders met in Libya prior to the Arab Spring uprisings that toppled longstanding dictatorships there and elsewhere in North Africa and the Middle East.

On Tuesday, Kuwait's Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah pledged $1 billion (740 million euros) in low-interest loans and the same amount in investments to African states in cooperation with the World Bank.

Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Sabah said that Kuwait would coordinate with the World Bank to enter joint investments in infrastructure projects in accordance with a plan to be announced soon.

"We are aware we have huge challenges ahead but we have the desire... to achieve a real partnership with Africa," the minister told a news conference after the summit.

Arab League secretary general Nabil al-Arabi said the "outcome of the summit will achieve a qualitative transformation in the African-Arab economic ties".

Thirty-four heads of state, seven vice presidents and three heads of government attended the gathering, which brought together 71 countries and organisations.

Africa has huge resources of raw materials, agriculture and energy but lacks investments.

According to the World Bank, the continent needs about $30 billion a year just to develop its energy sector.
The International Monetary Fund says African economic growth was a solid 5.0 percent in 2012 despite the global economic crisis. Growth is forecast to ease slightly to 4.8 percent this year and rebound to 5.1 percent in 2014.

Africa has 12 percent of global oil reserves and 42 percent of its gold deposits. The discovery of large quantities of natural gas off its east coast has added to the continent's economic potential.

On the other hand, states of the energy-rich Gulf Cooperation Council have accumulated surpluses of $2.0 trillion thanks to persistently high oil prices. A majority of the assets are invested in the United States and Europe.

The leaders called for the need to boost cooperation in the agricultural field to achieve food security. They also decided to hold the next summit in 2016 in Africa, without naming a country.

Somali immigrant elected to Lewiston school board | wcsh6.com

Somali immigrant elected to Lewiston school board | wcsh6.com

A man originally from Somalia has become the first African immigrant to win elected office in Lewiston, a city that has long had a significant Somali population.

Write-in candidate Jama Mohamed picked up 10 additional votes at a Thursday recount to win a seat on the school committee.

The 29-year-old Mohamed will be sworn into office in January.

Mohamed tells the Sun Journal that serving on the committee is "a lot of responsibility."

Mohamed came to the United States in 2004 and to Lewiston in 2008. The father of six works as a case manager and interpreter at Trinity Jubilee Center and is co-founder of a student mentoring organization.
A Somali-American woman previously served on the city's school committee, but she was appointed, not elected.

Surce:  The Associated Press.

Friday, November 22, 2013

“You’ve Made a Wager of Our Future”: Somali Youth Activist Pleads to U.N. Summit for Climate Action - Somali Breaking News, Diaspora & Video Community - Diaspora - The Gateway to Somalia News and Entertainment

“You’ve Made a Wager of Our Future”: Somali Youth Activist Pleads to U.N. Summit for Climate Action - Somali Breaking News, Diaspora & Video Community - Diaspora - The Gateway to Somalia News and Entertainment

Somali youth climate activist Marian Osman addressed the main plenary at the U.N. climate talks in Warsaw, Poland. “There’s a Somali proverb that goes: a mere finger can’t obscure the sun,” Osman said. “You cannot hide the truth by deception; as any one of the thousands whom are in need in Somalia and the Philippines this week could tell you, no amount of political stalling can hide the fact that a climate crisis is here.” Earlier this month, a deadly cyclone slammed the Puntland region of Somalia, wreaking havoc on an already vulnerable population.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

UN warns Somalia after alleged rape victim, journalists arrested | GlobalPost

UN warns Somalia after alleged rape victim, journalists arrested | GlobalPost

The United Nations in Somalia called Thursday for a "proper investigation" after police again arrested an alleged rape victim and the journalists who reported her story.
Rape, and reporting on sexual assault, is one of the most sensitive topics in Somalia, and the case is the latest in a series of arrests of victims and the journalists who aired their story.
Previous cases have seen the victim and reporter jailed for "offending state institutions".
The alleged victim, a 19-year old reporter, told the independent Radio Shabelle she was attacked and raped at gunpoint by two fellow journalists.
"One of the men threatened me with a pistol, and took me to the bedroom by force... both of them raped me several times, destroying my pride and dignity," she said, in a video interview broadcast on Somalia's Radio Shabelle website earlier this week.
"I am appealing to the government to take legal action against the rapists, they might have done the same to other poor girls," she added.
The video has been carried by several other Somali news websites.
Police in the capital Mogadishu have arrested the woman, as well as Mohamed Bashir Hashi, the reporter who interviewed her, and Shabelle's manager Abdulmalik Yusuf.
Nicholas Kay, UN special representative for Somalia, said in a message Thursday the UN was monitoring the "new rape allegation in Mogadishu" and warned that "legal representation, proper investigation and media freedom (are) important issues."
Alleged rapists not arrested
The victim and Hashi remain in police custody, but the station manager has been released on bail.
None of the men accused of the rape have been arrested.
Somalia's internationally-backed government said in a statement Thursday that "rape and sexual violence against women are completely unacceptable in Somali culture", but would not comment on the case.
"Somalia has an independent judiciary and we must allow the police and judiciary to carry out their investigations," government spokesman Abdirahman Omar Osman said in a statement.
"It is inappropriate for the government to get involved in the judicial process, as it is any other country."
Osman also insisted the government did respect press freedom.
"Journalists perform a critical role and we want them to be able to work without fear or favour," he added. "A free press is at the heart of every democracy and is guaranteed under our new constitution."
In February, a Somali journalist and a rape victim he interviewed were both sentenced to a year in prison, but they were released after two months after the case sparked widespread international criticism.
In that case, the court found the woman had lied after a midwife conducted a "finger test" to see if she had been raped, which Human Rights Watch (HRW) said was an "unscientific and degrading practice that has long been discredited".
Both were initially found guilty of "offending state institutions".
In August, a Somali woman who alleged she was gang-raped by African Union soldiers was also held by police for questioning.
Earlier this month HRW called on the government to order a new and impartial investigation into that case, saying the response to the incident "has been marred by mismanagement, opacity, and the harassment of the female rape survivor and support service providers."
This "points to security officials trying to silence both those who report the pervasive problem of sexual violence and those who help rape survivors," HRW added.
Rape is a major problem in Somalia, ravaged by conflict since 1991.
Amnesty International warned in a report earlier this year that "rape and sexual violence a constant threat" in Somalia, especially for women living in camps where they have fled conflict.

Somalia: Aid for cyclone and flood victims | Mareeg Media

Somalia: Aid for cyclone and flood victims | Mareeg Media

A tropical storm and flooding that hit parts of Somalia on 10 November have had catastrophic consequences for thousands of people, mainly in northern Puntland, and Middle Shabelle in the south. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and Somali Red Crescent are responding to the most urgent needs on the ground.

“A lot of people in these areas are in dire need,” said Patrick Vial, head of the ICRC delegation in Somalia. “Reports reaching our staff in the field speak of dozens of dead and the loss of significant numbers of livestock.”

In Puntland, access to the affected areas remains extremely difficult owing to the impact of the storm on the road network. The worst-affected area is a triangular zone of some 300 square km between Bender Bayla and Eyl on the coast and the town of Dungayaro in the interior. So far, about 1,000 households (6,000 people) have received one-month food rations and other essential items.

“The long-term effect of this cyclone on the population is also likely to be severe”, said Vial. “Many of the worst-affected people are nomads and pastoralists, who rely on their animals for both food and trade. The ultimate extent of the damage is still not clear, as we have yet to see all the areas hit by this disaster”.

Similar acute, long-term adversity is being faced by the population of Middle Shabelle, where villages and farms in the flood’s path have been submerged. Those worst hit by the disaster are in and around the town of Jowhar, to which access is also proving difficult owing to roads being washed out.

The floods have not only forced some 10,000 families to flee their homes, contaminated many of the local drinking-water wells and thus created a high risk of disease, they have also ruined any chance of a harvest for many local farmers.

To limit the scale of the disaster, the ICRC and the Somali Red Crescent are striving to strengthen the river banks in order to contain some of the flooding. Emergency aid for more than 4,000 families (about 26,000 people) has arrived and will be distributed in coming days. The two organizations will continue aiding the victims with the seed and farming tools they will need to restore their livelihoods once the floods recede.

Twenty-two years of ongoing conflict and recurrent natural disaster have sorely tried Somalia’s population, which therefore has an already severely weakened ability to face both the emergencies themselves and to recover from the long-term economic impact. The ICRC and the Somali Red Crescent will go on supporting the disaster-struck population with emergency aid as well as working to help it recover its self-sufficiency once the emergency is over.
For further information, please contact:
Germain Mwehu, ICRC Nairobi, tel: +254 20 271 9301

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Standard Digital News - Kenya : Kenyan MPs in Britain to lobby against attempt to ban ‘miraa’ sale

Standard Digital News - Kenya : Kenyan MPs in Britain to lobby against attempt to ban ‘miraa’ sale

A high-powered parliamentary delegation will today meet a committee of the House of Commons in their bid to lobby Parliament to reject a move by the British Government to impose a ban on miraa or restrict its sale.
The delegation, which is being led by Meru Senator Kiraitu Murungi and which includes eleven other legislators, arrived in London at the weekend for the advocacy mission as the push against the British Government’s decision to restrict and regulate sale of the stimulant gains momentum.
The lobbying of the House of Commons to reject the proposal by Home Secretary Theresa May that the Government enacts a law to ban miraa  comes even as traders and farmers of the stimulant await direction from the High Court in London on a suit they have filed challenging the move.
Yesterday, Kiraitu revealed that their mission is to lobby for support of UK parliamentarians.
“We will be appearing before a committee of the House of Commons tomorrow (today) to lobby the support of the British Parliament. We want them to join us by way of rejecting the proposal made by their Home Secretary towards enacting a law to ban miraa,” revealed Kiraitu.
Kiraitu and the Chairperson of the National Assembly’s ad hoc Committee on miraa, Ms Florence Kajuju,  are among those who will testify in the suit challenging May’s decision.
The senator said they were now awaiting the fixing of a hearing date by the High Court.
Irrational
In the suit filed by Queens Counsel Paul Garlick of Dass Solicitors, the traders term a decree by the Home Secretary to control sale and consumption of the stimulant in UK as irrational and lacking proportionality. The traders have told the High Court in the UK that the decision was taken without scientific evidence to prove miraa is a drug.
The case seeks to reverse the decision taken under the country’s Misuse of Drugs Act, on grounds that it is a class C drug.
But the farmers are accusing May of failing to take into account the expert scientific evidence contained in a report prepared for the government by the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, while making her decision.
In its report, the council had advised that miraa should not be controlled as their scientific research had not found the stimulant to have any adverse medical effects.
“She (May) failed to make consideration whether it is necessary and proportionate in the democratic society of the UK to prohibit the use of khat,” said the traders. They argue that the Home Secretary failed to consider the adverse effects that her decision would have on economies of foreign countries like Kenya who export the stimulant to the UK.

4 Somali gunmen in Kenya mall attack ID'd - ABC5 News Des Moines, IA

4 Somali gunmen in Kenya mall attack ID'd - ABC5 News Des Moines, IA

The four Westgate Mall attackers - all ethnic Somalis - crossed into Kenya in June and settled down in Nairobi's ethnic Somali neighborhood, where they worked out at the Andalus Gym, a Western official said Monday.
The official for the first time on Monday confirmed that all four attackers' have been identified. All four are ethnic Somali; none of the four has ever been to the U.S. or U.K., the official said.
Little has been released publicly about the attackers behind the Sept. 21 grenades-and-gunfire assault on Nairobi's upscale mall, an attack that killed at least 67 people and froze the city for four days.
Two attackers were previously identified: Hassan Abdi Dhuhulow, a 23-year-old Somalia native whose family moved to Norway in 1999. A second name was revealed in court documents as Mohammed Abdinur Said. The official on Monday declined to release the other two names, saying only that they are known. The official insisted on anonymity to discuss information not yet released publicly.
The four gunmen arrived in Kenya in June and were previously in Somalia. Officials know where the four lived in Nairobi and the gym they attended in Nairobi's Somali neighborhood, Eastleigh. An employee of that gym - Andalus Gym - said in a phone call Monday he was not aware that any of the four had been to his gym.
The Somali militant group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack and said it was in retaliation for Kenya's sending of troops into Somalia. The group, which is linked to al-Qaida, had threatened large-scale attacks for years, and it has said more will be carried out unless Kenya withdraws.
The mall siege was carried out by four men with AK-47 assault rifles, but the standoff turned into a four-day fiasco that saw the mall go up in flames and a section of the structure collapse. Afterward it was revealed that Kenyan army troops looted high-end merchandise inside the mall during the siege.
Remains were found in the mall's rubble that the official said are believed to be those of the attackers. The remains are being analyzed by an FBI lab. Only four attackers were seen on closed-circuit television images from the mall, despite early reports from the government of up to 15 attackers.
Kenyan officials say 67 people died in the September attack, but some two dozen people remain unaccounted for, and the official said the toll could rise as high as 94.
Despite press reports during the mall siege that the attackers had hostages and had prepositioned weapons or ammunition inside the mall, no evidence has emerged to back those claims, the official said.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

BBC News - Somali African Union Beledweyne base hit by bomb attack

BBC News - Somali African Union Beledweyne base hit by bomb attack

At least 19 people have been killed in a suicide attack on an African Union base in the Somali town of Beledweyne near Ethiopia's border, officials say.
A car rammed into the gates, exploded and gunmen then stormed the building.
The BBC's Mohammed Moalimu in Somalia says it is a base for Djiboutian troops and Somali policemen.
An al-Shabab spokesman, Abdiasis Abu Musab, told the Reuters news agency that the al-Qaeda-linked group had carried out the attack.
Last month, the Islamist group said it was behind a suicide attack at a popular cafe in Beledweyne which killed 16 people.
Somalia map

Beledweyne is a strategic town, 30km (20 miles) from the Ethiopian border on the main road to the capital, Mogadishu, and also on the major artery linking the north and south of the country.
Al-Shabab militants have been driven out of Somalia's major towns by a UN-mandated African Union force (Amisom) of some 18,000 soldiers, but still control large parts of southern Somalia.
'Enormous explosion'
Eyewitnesses told the BBC that a suicide bomber blew up a vehicle he was driving at the gates of the police station in Beledweyne.
Gunmen then went into the station and began shooting at the people inside, the witnesses said.
One eyewitness told the BBC Somali Service most of the dead were Somali policemen.
Health officials in the town say at least 19 people have died.
"The explosion was enormous and there are casualties... but the situation is now under control," Col Abdulkadir Ali, a senior police commander in the town, told the AFP news agency.
Local al-Shabab commander Mohamed Abu Suleiman told AFP special commandos had carried out the attack.
Djiboutian African Union troops in Beledweyne, Somalia Djiboutian troops in the AU force are based in Beledweyne

Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said such attacks were self-defeating and showed no regard for life.
"My first priority is to send my personal condolences to the victims and families affected by this stupid attack," he said in a statement.
"Amisom and Somali security forces alike have paid a heavy price for their brave role in stabilising Somalia.
"I say this was a stupid attack because our enemies need to understand that these attacks do nothing to advance their cause, however misguided."
In September, al-Shabab said it carried out the attack on the Westgate shopping centre in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, in which 67 people died during a four-day siege.
It said it staged the attack in response to Kenya's army carrying out operations on Somali territory.

UN Security Council tells Somalia to chase pirates more aggressively

UN Security Council tells Somalia to chase pirates more aggressively

The U.N. Security Council on Monday unanimously called on Somalia to pass laws banning seafaring pirates off its coasts and urged the east African nation to more aggressively combat them and the crime lords on land who finance and organize their raids.
The council passed a resolution 15-0 reauthorizing foreign ships, including the European Union Naval Force and African Union, Chinese and Pakistani forces, to continue patrolling sea lanes off Somalia and protecting shipping in the Indian Ocean.
The resolution also told Somalia to step up its efforts to arrest pirates and bring them to trial. Somali pirate cases are tried in other countries whose nationals have been held hostage or killed, or which own ships and cargos and claim jurisdiction, including the United States.
The council welcomed the news that pirate attacks off Somalia have fallen to their lowest level since 2006.
Armed guards aboard cargo ships and an international naval armada complete with aircraft that carry out onshore raids have put a huge dent in Somali piracy.
Somali pirates hijacked 46 ships in 2009 and 47 in 2010, according to the EU Naval Force. In 2011, pirates launched a record number of attacks — 176.A report by Secretary-General Ban-Ki-moon says that there were only 17 pirate attacks in the first nine months of 2013, compared with 99 attacks in the first nine months of 2012.
The last seizure of a major vessel was the MT Smyrni, taken for ransom in May 2012.
The resolution encourages countries operating in the high-risk sea lanes to allow "privately contracted armed security personnel" aboard commercial ships to protect them. That issue was debated at the council last year, after Russian and Italian military crews assigned to merchant ships fired on and killed fishermen off Somalia, mistaking them for pirates.
The lingering threat to shipping, the council resolution said, complicates U.N. and international efforts to ship food for famine relief to Somalia.
Somalia's fragile central government doesn't control large sections of the country, much of which is ruled by al-Shabab militants allied with al-Qaida. An African Union military force is trying to help the Somali government extend control over more territory, and the Security Council last week approved a "surge" in resources from troop-contributing countries to try to break the stalemate with al-Shabab.
The new resolution "calls upon the Somali authorities to make all efforts to bring to justice those who are using Somali territory to plan, facilitate, or undertake criminal acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea."

3 Calif. Somalis get prison for aiding terrorists - Westport News

3 Calif. Somalis get prison for aiding terrorists - Westport News

Three Somali immigrants convicted of funneling nearly $11,000 to a terrorist organization in their native country have been sentenced to prison.
A federal judge in San Diego on Monday imposed the longest term — 18 years — on Basaaly Saeed Moalin. The judge said he went beyond raising money for al-Shabab by offering the al-Qaida-linked militia group the use of his house in Mogadishu.
Mohamed Mohamed Mohamud was sentenced to 13 years in prison. He was a popular imam at a mosque in San Diego's City Heights neighborhood.
Issa Doreh was sentenced to 10 years. Prosecutors say he helped lead the fundraising drive.
A fourth defendant — Anaheim cabdriver Ahmed Nasiri Taalil Mohamud — is set to be sentenced Jan. 31.
The case was built on hundreds of phone calls the government secretly recorded.

Monday, November 18, 2013

BBC News - Somalia: al-Shabab bans smartphones to stymie film fans

BBC News - Somalia: al-Shabab bans smartphones to stymie film fans

Smartphones are the latest item to be banned by Somali militant group al-Shabab, it appears.
According to reports, the al-Qaeda linked group has forbidden the sale and the use of the popular devices in areas under its control in the south of the country. The Somali Current news website says residents in Barawe, Buula-burte and Elbur have been warned that any person found using smartphones will "be punished".

Kenyan newspaper Daily Nation notes a local pronouncement that says the ban is to prevent local people from downloading and watching films on their devices. However, some residents tell the paper the real motivation for the ban is that smartphones may be used to spy on al-Shabab operations "by taking films, photos or sending messages". Older phones without web or video capability are reportedly still allowed.

Watching satellite television was recently banned by al-Shabab in the areas under its control in the Lower Shabelle region. And the group has also reportedly banned - amongst other things - music on the radio, the sale of pictures or music, smoking and playing football.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Terror groups may target US interests in Kenya - San Antonio Express-News

Terror groups may target US interests in Kenya - San Antonio Express-News

The U.S. government is warning that a Kenyan terror group with links to the Somali group al-Shabab may seek to target the American private sector in Kenya.
A recent report from the U.S. State Department's Overseas Security Advisory Council says the anti-West ideology shared by al-Shabab and the Kenyan terror group al-Hijra indicate that the groups "may seek to target the U.S. private sector in Kenya."
The report was released in the aftermath of al-Shabab's attack on Nairobi's Westgate Mall, a gunfire and grenade assault that killed at least 67 people.
The report calls for Americans to exercise extra vigilance in Nairobi, Kenya's capital, and the coastal city of Mombasa at clubs, hotels, resorts, shopping centers, restaurants and places of worship.

CA judge says no retrial in Somali terrorism case - Westport News

CA judge says no retrial in Somali terrorism case - Westport News

A federal judge refused to grant a new trial to four Somali immigrants convicted of funneling thousands of dollars to a terrorist organization in their native country, in a case built on hundreds of phone calls the government recorded surreptitiously.
U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Miller rejected arguments by the men's attorneys that their Constitutional rights were violated by the tapping of their phones, UT San Diego reported Friday (http://bit.ly/1adMAWW ). The judge also ruled that evidence from the case involving National Security Agency surveillance will remain under seal and cannot be released even to the men's lawyers.
One of the attorneys for the four, Joshua Dratel, said they would appeal.
The men were convicted in February of raising $10,900 in 2007 and 2008 and sending it to al-Shabab, a group authorities say is an al-Qaida-linked militia.
Among the four convicted was Mohamed Mohamed Mohamud, a popular imam at a mosque in San Diego's City Heights neighborhood. Authorities say he used his position to raise the money.
Also convicted were San Diego taxi drivers Basaaly Saeed Moalin and Issa Doreh, who prosecutors said helped lead the fundraising drive, and Ahmed Nasir Taalil Mohamud, whose financial transfer business was used to deliver the money.
Government attorneys played numerous tapes of telephone calls in court, including those they said were between Moalin and Aden Hashi Ayrow. The latter was among the top leaders of al-Shabaab until he was killed in a missile strike in May 2008.
Defense attorneys argued that Moalin was actually speaking with another person who was seeking aid to help protect people in Somalia from groups like al-Shabab.
Moalin, Mohamud and Doreh are to be sentenced Monday and could face 17 to 26 years in prison. Nasir Mohamud is scheduled to be sentenced in January.
___
Information from: U-T San Diego, http://www.utsandiego.com

Friday, November 15, 2013

Are Muslims lagging behind in Islamic Morals and Etiquettes? : Wisdom from Quran and Hadith : IqraSense.com

Are Muslims lagging behind in Islamic Morals and Etiquettes? : Wisdom from Quran and Hadith : IqraSense.com

A few days ago, a Muslim lady from Texas allegedly killed her two children because they were autistic and she could not handle the pressure of raising them. (Ref)
Last year, a very successful Muslim entrepreneur killed his wife because of domestic issues and now awaits trial. The entrepreneur had known to have been involved in a number of domestic violence cases earlier. (Ref)
Couple of years ago, a Muslim man killed his daughters because of them allegedly having affairs with their boyfriends. (Ref)
Other similar issues in Muslim households that involve spousal beatings, domestic violence, child abuse, elder abuse, lack of respect of parents and elders, spousal lack of respect, intergenerational conflict, teenage pregnancies, to name a few come into Islamic centers in the west almost on a regular basis.
These painful stories beg many questions – Where is the real Islam in these Muslim households allegedly perpetrated of such acts and social evils? Does the Muslim upbringing today lack adequate focus on Islamic mannerisms, morals, and etiquettes and instead focuses merely on spiritual and ritualistic aspects (praying, fasting, etc.)? What can be done to train families and individuals on Islamic etiquettes, morals, and mannerisms?
Based on general observation of increase in social evils within Muslim communities, it is safe to attribute the root cause to not investing enough in inculcating adequate Islamic etiquettes and morals. Education and knowledge in Muslim households, like others, instead focuses mostly on career building. This realm of education in today’s Muslim mind can be observed in Tony Blair’s (UK’s ex prime minister) statement where he said in an interview (reported in the Times Educational Supplement of July 5, 2002): “Education is and remains the absolute number one priority for the country because without a quality education system and an educated workforce, we cannot succeed economically.” (Ref)
No one denies the need for education that is required to advance oneself economically and for the betterment of life in general. However, knowledge and education required to instill moral values must also not be ignored. The focus today may be more towards the building of human beings into entrepreneurs, doctors, engineers and so on instead of making humans beings human. As a result, a number of us are succeeding economically but the question remains whether we are truly happy within our families, communities and societies at large?
Within the context of Islamic education, the Muslim upbringing today may be solely focused on spiritual and ritualistic aspects (praying, fasting, etc.), while ignoring the morals and values that these rituals are meant to instill in the individual in first place. We all know people who may pray five times a day and fast yet fail to epitomize good Islamic morals and etiquettes. On a smaller scale, most of us in one form or another may be guilty of maintaining double standards ourselves. We stand to pray in front of our Creator with humility yet fail to demonstrate humility to our families and other people. We may read the Quran but our character is not that of the Quran. We exercise patience in refraining from eating and drinking when fasting, yet fail to show any patience when it comes to worldly matters.
This sad state of affairs calls for the urgent learning of Islamic manners, morals and etiquettes by Muslims of all ages. Besides building the spiritual core within the young Muslims, parents must also focus on instilling Islamic values that can help guide the new Muslim’s life in these turbulent times. For those of us who didn’t get the opportunity to teach or learn those Islamic manners, we can start by reflecting the Quran and Hadith, taking the teachings, and more importantly to start applying those to our lives. A book by Imam Bukhari (Link – al Adab al Mufrad – Muslim Morals and Manners) lists more than 600 Islamic manners and morals and is an excellent source for learning Islamic morals and etiquettes.
Finally, let’s review some of the Islamic mannerisms from the life of the prophet (SAW) and sahaba. Abu Haamid al-Ghazaali in Ihya’ ‘Uloom al-Deen highlighted the prophet’s qualities, some of which are stated as follows –
    • He was the most forbearing of people, the most courageous of people, the most just of people, the most chaste of people.
    • He was the most modest of people and would not look anyone straight in the eye.
    • He would respond to the invitations of slave and free alike, and accept a gift even if it was a cup of milk, and he would reward a person for it.
    • He got angry for the sake of his Lord but he did not get angry for his own sake.
    • He would adhere to the truth even if that resulted in harm for himself or his companions. He found one of the best of his companions slain in an area where Jews lived, but he did not treat them harshly or do more than hat which is prescribed by sharee’ah.
    • He would accept invitations to meals, visit the sick, and attend funerals.
    • He was the most humble and quiet of people without being arrogant, the most eloquent without being long-winded, the most cheerful of countenance.
    • He would sit with the poor and offer food to and eat with the needy, honoring the virtuous and softening the hearts of people of status by treating them kindly.
    • He upheld ties of kinship without favoring his relatives over those who were better than them, and he did not treat anyone harshly.
    • He accepted the excuses of those who apologized to him; he would joke but he only spoke the truth, and he would smile without laughing out loud.
    • He did not waste time without striving for the sake of Allah or doing that which was essential to better himself. He did not look down on any poor person because of his poverty or chronic sickness, and he did not fear any king because of his power.
To conclude, lets remind ourselves of what Aa’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said when describing the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). It is mentioned in the lengthy story about Sa’d ibn Hishaam ibn ‘Aamir, when he came to Madeenah and went to ‘Aa’ishah and asked her about some matters. He said:
I said: O Mother of the believers, tell me about the character of the Messenger of Allah (S). She said: Do you not read the Quran? I said: Of course. She said: The character of the Prophet of Allah (S) was the Quran. I wanted to get up and not ask about anything else until I died… Narrated by Muslim (746).
What is your opinion about the state of affairs of Muslims in learning Islamic etiquettes, morals, and values? Share your thoughts and stories below.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

300 feared dead in Somalia cyclone - Vanguard News

300 feared dead in Somalia cyclone - Vanguard News

As many as 300 people are feared dead after a ferocious storm and days of heavy floods in Somalia’s northeastern Puntland region, the local government said Wednesday.
“Torrential rains, high wind speeds and flooding has created a state of emergency, with 300 persons feared dead, hundreds others unaccounted for, and countless livestock lost,” the government of the semi-autonomous region said in a statement.
The death toll could not be independently verified, but weather experts from the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) confirmed flooding was severe.
“Given that Puntland is a semi-arid region, it rarely rains but when it does, to an extent we have seen… the impact is devastating,” said Hussein Gadain, a senior FAO technical advisor.
Infamous pirate hotspots such as the port of Eyl — from where Somali gunmen have launched attacks far out into the Indian Ocean — are some of the worst affected.
“Many fishermen are missing and feared dead, the storm has destroyed entire villages, homes, buildings, and boats,” the statement added.
Coastal destruction caused by a 2004 tsunami was widely seen as being one trigger for a surge in attacks off Somalia, peaking in January 2011 when the pirates held 736 hostages and 32 boats.
However, the rate of attacks has tumbled in the past two years, prompted partly by the posting of armed guards on boats and navy patrols.
Pirates still hold an Omani-flagged Naham 3 fishing boat offshore, as well as at least six traditional wooden Yemeni fishing boats, although around 90 sailors from other boats are still held hostage onshore.
Puntland’s government has described the situation as a “disaster”, with entire villages destroyed, and said it was appealing for emergency international aid.
The World Food Programme (WFP) said it is “working closely” with local authorities “to assess the needs in Puntland in the aftermath of the cyclone.”
The main tarmac road between Puntland’s capital Garowe and the key port Bossaso has been cut off by flood waters, hampering delivering of relief supplies.
“The loaded and ready trucks cannot deliver supplies by road, as the heavy rains and flooding have rendered dirt roads to the coastal areas impassible,” the government added.
Somalia has been riven by civil war since the collapse of central government in 1991.
Impoverished Puntland, which forms the tip of the Horn of Africa, has its own government, although unlike neighbouring Somaliland, it has not declared independence from Somalia

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Somali pirate gets life in prison for 4 US deaths - Westport News

Somali pirate gets life in prison for 4 US deaths - Westport News

A federal judge in Virginia has sentenced a Somali pirate to 19 consecutive life sentences in prison for his role in the shooting deaths of four Americans.
Chief District Judge Rebecca Beach Smith sentenced Ahmed Muse Salad on Tuesday.
Salad was one of three Somalis convicted in the 2011 murders of the Americans aboard the yacht Quest off the coast of Africa. Salad and the others were among 19 who boarded the yacht in hopes of taking the Americans back to Somalia so they could be ransomed for millions of dollars. The plan fell apart when the U.S. Navy began shadowing the 58-foot sailboat.
Prosecutors say Salad repeatedly fired an AK-47 at the Americans after negotiations broke down. They say he showed no remorse and bragged about killing them.

Constitutional Crises in Somalia

Constitutional Crises in Somalia

Somalia's prime minister said on Tuesday that he was in a “constitutional” dispute with the president and was ready for parliament to intervene to settle it.
Abdi Farah Shirdon Saaid gave no details of the argument, but any such high-level rift could damage a fledgling government that the West says is the best in decades in the war-torn country long considered a “failed state”.
Western powers see Somalia as a launchpad for militant Islam across east Africa and beyond, and are keen to ensure the government is stable, even though it exerts little authority beyond the capital.
One member of parliament told Reuters that President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud had asked Saaid to resign after he had excluded some of the president's ministerial picks for a new cabinet.
The prime minister refused, saying he had the constitutional right to select cabinet ministers and that only parliament could dismiss him, the lawmaker said on condition of anonymity.
Mohamud did not comment on Saaid's statement at a news conference he held on Tuesday.
Saaid said his disagreement with Mohamud was “a constitutional one but not political”, and that only parliament could settle the matter.
“I request the citizens to have trust in their leaders and the parliamentarians who have the main responsibility to resolve the row,” Saaid said.
In May, the prime minister faced a vote of confidence for slowing down the pace of political reforms, but this was withdrawn after Mohamud lobbied parliamentarians.
Elected in September 2012, Mohamud, a political newcomer with a background in reconciling clan feuds, was seen as a vote for change. But he has struggled to overcome acrimonious clan politics, corruption and a stubborn Islamist insurgency.
Somalia is battling al-Qaeda-linked insurgent group Al-Shabaab, which was driven out of Mogadishu by an African peacekeeping force in 2011, but has kept up a campaign of attacks against the government. - Reuters

UN approves surge in Somalia troops vs. al-Shabab - Westport News

UN approves surge in Somalia troops vs. al-Shabab - Westport News

The U.N. Security Council approved a surge of African Union troops to fight al-Shabab militants in Somalia, where the world body fears that the war has "ground to a halt."
The council voted unanimously Tuesday to authorize about 4,400 more AU soldiers, bringing the force up to 22,126 troops, and called for massive U.N. assistance to break the stalemate in Somalia.
The Security Council focused its attention on the al-Shabab threat after the Islamic group's September attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, which killed at least 67 people.
"As recent attacks show, al-Shabab continue to pose a threat, not just to Somalia, but to the wider region, and now is the right time for the Security Council to act," British U.N. Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant said.
Tuesday's council resolution said "recent security gains against aI-Shabab are at serious risk of being reversed" and noted that the Somali army and African Union forces "have now assumed a more defensive posture."
The Somali surge is meant to send 2,550 extra combat troops and 1,845 ground-support troops to the force known as AMISOM. After 18 to 24 months, the U.N. wants to hand over the fighting to the Somali national army and send a U.N. peacekeeping mission to replace the AU force "as part of an overall exit strategy for AMISOM," the resolution said.
The resolution also approves 12 new military helicopters from troop-contributing countries, and calls for more "force enablers and multipliers." The U.N. is seeking armored vehicles and trucks, among other equipment, as well as food, fuel, ammunition and supplies for the Somali army and AMISOM.
U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson visited Somalia in October. He told the council in a briefing last month that the African Union force and the Somali military lack "the capacity to push beyond areas already recovered" from the al-Qaida-linked group in the last 18 months, after a successful campaign to recapture several cities, including Mogadishu and Kismayo.
Eliasson said the war had "ground to a halt."
In the resolution, the council also approved the formation of a U.N. guard force to protect U.N. buildings and installations. In June, al-Shabab forces invaded the U.N. compound in Mogadishu with a truck bomb and then poured inside, killing at least 13 people before dying in the assault. It was the first direct attack on a U.N. building in Somalia since 2008.
The size and composition of the U.N. guard force was not spelled out in the resolution, but Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called for another 1,000 troops for the force, and also another 840 police officers to train Somali police force.
If the Security Council later authorizes the additional troops and police, that would boost the AMISOM force to about 24,000 personnel.
Somalia has long been plagued by cyclical drought and famine and decades of armed conflict. But in recent years it has been seen as making strides in security and governance, particularly since August 2011, when al-Qaida-aligned militants were forced out of Mogadishu. Al-Shabab militants still control much of the country's south.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Wanted female terror suspect spotted in Somalia | Somalicurrent.com

Wanted female terror suspect spotted in Somalia | Somalicurrent.com

Samantha Lewthwaite, the widow of London suicide bomber Germaine Lindsay, was spotted in Somalia, Mirror News reported on Sunday.
Samantha, 29, nicknamed ‘the White Widow’ who is regarded as one of the world’s most wanted terrorism suspects was reportedly seen twice in the horn of Africa Nation.
According to the Mirror, Samantha was seen at the north-eastern city of Qardho, in Puntland and Baidoa, south of the capital Mogadishu.
The British born woman is an alleged member of the Somali radical Islamic militant group al-Shabab. She was living in Kenya a while and is beleived she was given a shelter by Kenya’s Muslim Youth Center, al-Shabab-affiliated group.
She has been accused of organizing grenade attacks at non-Muslim places of worship in Kenya and attack on people watching football in a bar in Mombasa during Euro 2012.
In September 2013, there was speculation that she was possibly involved the Nairobi mall attack that killed nearly 70 people.