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Saturday, November 29, 2014

Sun News : Somali-Canadians seduced by ISIS

Sun News : Somali-Canadians seduced by ISIS

In an online video made by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), a twenty-something former student from Calgary's Somali-Canadian community made sure he would never leave the fight with ISIS.
"This is a message to Canada, and all of America...we are coming, and we will destroy you," said Farah Mohamed Shirdon while burning his passport around a campfire with other compatriots doing the same.
Shirdon also sent a message back home: ISIS is stealing their youth.
Edmonton Somali community leader Mahamad Accord says the number of people leaving to go to Syria is growing.
"Six people that we notice, but it could be more," said Accord.
More are missing.
Accord says radicalists are directly recruiting young Somali-Canadians, feeding on lack of opportunity and the hardship of fitting into a new culture.
"They can say 'Ahha, you belong again, you're welcome, you're valued, your contribution's valued,' that's what's missing, and that's what they're offering over there. They're saying 'Wow, your a brotherhood, that's why the people join the gangs...There's so many things that we can offer them, but we have to offer them, because those guys they're doing a better job then we're doing."
On how they get overseas, how jihadists contact them, the facts are sparse. What the community has came second hand. But it's no small issue.
Alberta has 35,000 Somali-Canadians. The Canadian Somali Congress says of the 12,000 in Edmonton, 60 percent are recent immigrants or first generation under 30. That's the target demographic for ISIS. It's a problem large enough to get the government on board.
"From meeting with the Somali community, these are peaceful people, there are some radicals in their groups, and they want to help their youth from day one...It is a major concern," said Alberta Justice Minister Jonathan Denis.
Critics say going to the media accord is self-serving, creating harmful stereotypes, making life even harder for young people who aren't getting recruited.
They also point to the fact of the 160 Canadians fighting jihad overseas, only two are confirmed as Somali.
Accord says he agrees it's an issue for all communities, but says saving lives is what's important.
"What I'm saying those people that think that, we can hide our head in the sand, and this thing will cure itself, I think they're wrong...cancer is cancer, this issue is a cancer, if you hide it, you know what happens," said Accord.

Somali child sex gangs convicted in Britain - Yahoo News

Somali child sex gangs convicted in Britain - Yahoo News

Thirteen Somali men have been convicted of being part of gangs which sexually abused young teenage girls, it could be reported Thursday, the latest in a series of similar cases exposed in English towns and cities.
The victims, as young as 13, were raped, sexually abused and passed around for money in Bristol, southwest England, according to two trials, which until now were subject to reporting restrictions.
Several were groomed to think it was part of a loving relationship they were having with the defendants.
The men persuaded the girls to have sex with their friends, with others watching, claiming it was Somali "culture and tradition" and "men always have sex with each other's girlfriends", Bristol Crown Court heard.
Some girls were paid £30 ($47, 38 euros) or given drugs, alcohol and presents to perform sex acts on the men.
Similar grooming cases have been brought through the courts in recent years in Oxford, Telford, Derby, Rotherham and Rochdale, many involving Muslim men targeting vulnerable, often white, girls.
In the first trial in Bristol in July, seven men aged 20 to 22 were convicted of charges including rape, paying for the sexual services of a child, facilitating child prostitution, possessing indecent pictures of a child and supplying heroin and cocaine.
They were each jailed for between five years and 13 years, eight months -- 70 years in total.
In a second trial this month, seven men aged 20 to 24 were convicted of 20 charges. One of them was involved in the first trial, which was why media could not report the proceedings before now.
The men will be sentenced on Friday for charges including rape, sexual activity with a child, causing or inciting child prostitution and trafficking for sexual exploitation, relating to four victims.
- Sordid -
In one incident, a 13-year-old girl was raped four times by three different men in the same evening, first at a flat and then in a hotel room.
In the second trial, the court was read transcripts of a police interview of Said Zakaria, 22, relating to that night. Zakaria was convicted in both court cases.
He said: "They're both slags innit, they're both dirty slags, they got used and abused and now they're saying rah, rah, rah; who's making them do anything they don't want to do?
"Everyone knows what they're there for."
Prosecutor Anna Vigars told the jury: "It is about the defendants simply using the girls to satisfy themselves whenever they felt like it, doing it so often that no doubt it began to feel normal as far as these girls were concerned.
"Much of it is sordid; none of it is romantic."
Howard Phillips, from the Crown Prosecution Service, said after the convictions: "Vulnerable young people were used by these men for their own gratification, convinced that what was happening to them was normal, and controlled through systematic abuse and the promise of drugs and affection."

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Fourteen Somali men guilty of running Bristol child sex ring - Telegraph

Fourteen Somali men guilty of running Bristol child sex ring - Telegraph

Fourteen Somali men have been convicted of running an inner city sex ring that involved the abuse, rape and prostitution of teenage British girls, it can be reported for the first time.
Victims as young as 13 were preyed upon, sexually abused and passed around the men's friends for money in Bristol.
Several of the girls were groomed to the extent they believed abuse was part of loving relationships they were having with the defendants.
Some were persuaded to have sex with their "boyfriend's" friends as it was Somali "culture and tradition" and "men always have sex with each other's girlfriends".
The victims, described as "vulnerable" due to their age and circumstances, were paid as little as £30 or given drugs, alcohol and gifts to perform sex acts on older men.
In one night, one 13-year-old girl was raped four times by three different men, having been trafficked across the city to a Premier Inn by one of her abusers.
The Bristol case comes after allegations, convictions and resignations over organised child abuse and exploitation across English towns and cities including Rotherham, Rochdale, Oxford and Telford.
Serious case reviews are now under way to try to understand how the girls became victims.
Avon and Somerset Police uncovered a two-year catalogue of abuse against 10 girls during their investigation into the Somali men, codenamed Operation Brooke.
A total of 14 were convicted of charges including rape, sexual activity with a child, facilitating child prostitution, trafficking, paying for the sexual services of a child and drug offences.
Defendants were tried in two separate trials at Bristol Crown Court, with eight jailed for between 18 months and 13 years following the first this summer.
The remaining seven, convicted by a jury on Wednesday following 32 hours and 17 minutes of deliberations, will be sentenced at the court on Friday.
The first trial centred on a group of Somali drug dealers based in Easton, in Bristol, and their exploitation of primarily one teenage girl.
She had been moved into a flat on her own in Bristol and left almost unsupervised by social workers from outside the city.
Liban Abdi, 21, Mustapha Farah, 21, Arafat Osman, 20, Idleh Osman, 22, Abdulahi Aden, 20, Said Zakaria, 22, Mustafa Deria, 22, and Deria's cousin Mohamed Jama, 20, were all jailed for between 18 months and 13 years for either child sexual exploitation or drugs offences.
The second trial focused on another group of young Somali men - but included Zakaria, whose nickname was "Target" - and their grooming and subsequent sexual abuse of young girls in Bristol.
Mohamed Jumale, 24, Mohamed Dahir, 22, Zakaria, Jusuf Abdizirak, 20, Omar Jumale, 20, Abdirashid Abdulahi, 21 and Sakariah Sheik, 21, were all convicted of child sexual exploitation offences.
Judge Julian Lambert will sentence the seven defendants for the 20 charges they were convicted of, relating to four victims.
Two defendants, Jibril Mohamed, 21, and Dauud Osman, 19, were acquitted of the charges they faced.
The case can only be reported for the first time today because restrictions placed upon the media were lifted at the end of the second trial.

As uncertainty reigns • Horseed

As uncertainty reigns

The nature of the human condition is such that progress and setbacks are all part of everyday existence. The Somali peoples having become use to the vicissitudes of life invariably remain sanguine and this is what ensures that they are such good company. They are the great survivors, who sustained by a deep and profound faith have weathered the worst that life can throw at them. Hardened by an often harsh and forbidding landscape and tested by truculent and jealous neighbours, their indomitable spirit is truly humbling. Resilience and self reliance would appear to be hot wired into their very DNA. Yet for all this they, just like all humanity are not without their flaws and even the staunchest of friends of the Somali peoples find themselves having to admit that chief of these is a pride, a pride that invariably means that at times the Somali can be his own worse enemy.
The current political crisis in Mogadishu amply demonstrates just how dangerous this pride can be. Somalia’s government has become polarised and as a consequence a paralysis is affecting ministries. Those who have been elected to serve are preoccupied by a power struggle that is not only unseemly, but extremely damaging for the country and the region as a whole. The air appears full of intrigue and as a consequence not only are historic clan divisions exacerbated, but those with nefarious intentions have been provided with near perfect conditions to carry out their activities. Somalia’s enemies, both internal and external must be thrilled by what is taking place. An already weak and ineffectual government appears to be intent on tearing itself apart and offering what is left to the hyenas and vultures. Al Shabaab, having been on the back foot for so long, is being given valuable breathing space and those intent on fleecing the people know their corrupt activity is likely to go unchecked. Such is the seriousness of what is taking place that if this situation continues the country will fragment as parts of the federation will have no choice to break away in order to survive economically.  Already there is growing disquiet in the other parts of the country, people yearn for peace and development and they feel that the bonds of familial and national loyalty are being stretched to breaking point. The current impasse and the uncertainty that has resulted has severely dented investor confidence, something that has undone a lot of excellent work.
Somalia’s trials and tribulations have far reaching consequences, not just for a county trying desperately to re-establish itself after years of conflict, but also for a region that has become a byword for natural and manmade catastrophes.  The current leadership appear to have a limited grasp of what leadership and service actually means. As things stand the political elite seem to be dodging responsibility at every turn, something that has frustrated the likes of Nicholas Kay, the UN Special Representative for Somalia. That said, Kay himself is not without fault, as in the opinion of some he often comes across as some latter day Evelyn Baring (1841-1917) or Miles Lampson (1880-1964). Somalis are rightly occasionally suspicious of the UN’s activities and effectiveness, all the more so as the UN spends the lion’s share of any aid and assistance on itself in Somalia. For all the political machinations, it is the ordinary people who continue to pay the real price, they remain in a desperate situation, with unemployment and under employment a continuing scourge and the sense of hopelessness within some communities palpable.
Should the instability continue it could well create the sought of vacuum that pulls in external forces, ones who see a potential theatre operation for their activities having exited Afghanistan. The geopolitics of the region is such that it does not take a genius to work out how some policy makers and planners might wish to proceed. The threat to vital international shipping lanes, continuing instability and extremism in Yemen, and the securing new and existing oil, gas and mineral reserves will all play their part in their thinking.  Already Somaliland in particular has witnessed a dramatic upsurge of interest from those looking for a regional presence, something that may well be a portent of future covert activity across the Horn.  Whilst the region is no stranger to external meddling, it would do well to note that much of this could be tempered by addressing internal weaknesses. Nations in a state of civil war beggar themselves, and what we are witnessing in Mogadishu is an administration little short of being at war with itself. It should be a matter of particular concern that those who have a duty to report what is taking place are increasingly being targeted. Journalists are being routinely arrested, kidnapped or murdered. Being a journalist almost anywhere across the entire the Horn of Africa is an extremely perilous occupation. In truth nations rely on responsible journalists to elucidate issues that certain peoples, especially powerful, corrupt and criminal elements would rather we not know about. The degree of threats and intimidation that journalists and their families are receiving is indicative of the importance of their work. It should be a matter of concern for all right minded people that journalists are being targeted in this manner, all the more so as some of the intimidation is coming from the forces of the state.
Somalia’s current agonies are already causing regional anxiety and there is a wealth of evidence to suggest that potential investors and especially financial institutions are rethinking their short to medium term strategies. Success stories such as Somaliland cannot firewall themselves entirely from what is happening to its neighbour. As for the likes of Puntland State there is increasing frustration that the madness in Mogadishu could cost them dear. Uncertainty is always bad for business and if it is allowed to continue to reign in certain quarters the ramifications will be far reaching. It is said that pride comes before the fall, well in that case, certain individuals need to swallow their pride and start putting the people and the country’s peace and prosperity before themselves. Let us hope sanity prevails.
Mark T. Jones
International Speaker & Leadership Specialist
http://www.marktjones.com

Somalia's new bourse sees seven firms listing on opening in 2015 | News by Country | Reuters

Somalia's new bourse sees seven firms listing on opening in 2015 | News by Country | Reuters

The Somalia Stock Exchange expects seven companies in the telecoms, financial services and transport sectors to list their shares when the bourse is set up in 2015, its founder said.
Somalia's economy is slowly recovering from more than two decades of conflict, although the government is still battling an Islamist insurgency. Amid the chaos, some businesses have thrived, including money transfer and mobile phone firms.
"These are companies built by Somalis themselves and they have the potential to grow and attract international investment," Idd Mohamed, chairman of the Somalia bourse, told Reuters on Tuesday. He did not name the firms."The Somali companies are business-oriented. They have large amounts of cash and resources and they are willing to take this road," Mohamed said on the sidelines of a meeting of African bourse chiefs in the Kenyan coastal resort of Diani.He said one of the biggest challenges was hiring staff after many educated Somalis fled their war-ravaged country at the height of the fighting. But he said now the bourse was recruiting some qualified Somalis who were being trained.The bourse is working with the Nairobi Securities Exchange in neighbouring Kenya to train stockbrokers and staff.The Somalia Stock Exchange has opened administrative offices in Mogadishu and other Somali centres like Kismayu, as well as in Nairobi, to help recruitment and in other related issues.Somalis who fled abroad to escape the chaos at home send back an estimated $1.3 billion to their families every year, a lifeline to many in Somalia and helping spark a mini-construction boom in Mogadishu.The remittances are sent using money transfer firms, such as Dahabshiil, which has an international network of outlets.Mohamed said the new bourse was also talking to companies in the energy sector who are prospecting for natural resources in the Horn of Africa country. "There is potential for Somalia to be the next oil and gas producing country," he said.He said security was improving with the help of African Union peacekeeping troops, helping boost economic activity.(Editing by James Macharia; Editing by Tom Heneghan)

2 Minnesota men charged with conspiracy to supply ISIS - CBS News

2 Minnesota men charged with conspiracy to supply ISIS - CBS News

Two Minnesota men with connections to the Somali-American community there were charged with conspiracy to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), CBS News reports.
One of the men, Abdullah Yusuf, 18, was taken into custody in May after being stopped by authorities at the Minneapolis airport he tried to board a flight to Turkey. The other man, Abdi Nur, 20, successfully traveled to Turkey and presumably has linked up with Islamist radicals.
"As charged, these two young men conspired to join ISIL and travel from Minnesota to the Middle East to engage in a campaign of terror in support of a violent ideology," said U.S. Attorney Andy Luger.
Yusuf was expected to make an initial appearance Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis.
Dozens of young men from Minnesota's Somali community have left to join with jihadists over the past seven years, officials say. Most have gone to Somalia to join al Shabaab, while others have gone to Syria to join ISIS and other groups.
"Since al-Shabaab began recruiting young adults from the Twin Cities in 2007, our region has lost dozens of disaffected young people to terrorist organizations that would sooner see Somali Minnesotans die on foreign battlefields than prosper in peace and security in the United States," said Luger.
At least 100 Americans have traveled or attempted to travel to Syria with the intention of joining Islamist groups. The U.S. government has identified about a dozen Americans fighting with ISIS. More than that have aligned with the al Qaeda-linked group Jubhat al Nusra.
Luger is releasing some details of a plan aimed at preventing the radicalization of Minnesota Somali youth. He met Monday with local law enforcement and Somali community leaders to discuss the outlines of the project.
In a few weeks, Luger plans to lead a delegation to Washington in a few weeks to present details at a White House summit.
He says the program is aimed at helping the Somali community itself address the root causes of why some Somali youth have left Minnesota to join radical groups in Syria and Somalia.
Some components include a greater focus on youth programs, more job training opportunities and measures to reduce security hassles for local Somalis who travel through Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.
Luger says it's not about surveillance or intelligence gathering.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Luger releases Minnesota anti-radicalization plan - San Jose Mercury News

Luger releases Minnesota anti-radicalization plan - San Jose Mercury News

A federal prosecutor said Monday that a new program aimed at preventing the radicalization of Minnesota Somalis will focus on youth programs, job training and fewer security hassles when they travel by air.
Andy Luger, U.S. attorney for Minnesota, said the pilot program is aimed at helping the Somali community itself address the "root causes" of what has led some local Somalis to leave Minnesota to fight abroad for terrorist organizations such as the Islamic State group in Syria and al-Shabab in Somalia.
The federal prosecutor met first Monday with a group of local law enforcement officials, then with a group of Somali community leaders, to lay out a draft of the plan and get their feedback. Luger and the U.S. attorneys from Los Angeles and Boston plan to present their locally tailored plans at a White House summit on countering violent extremism. The date for that meeting has not been set, but Luger said he expects it to be next month.
Luger sought to dispel any concerns that the new program is just a cover for stepped-up law enforcement.
"This is not about gathering intelligence, it's not about expanding surveillance or any of the things that some people want to claim it is," he said. "It's not that. This is about going after the problems that you have told me about that may lead to the kind of radicalization that some of the youth are engaged in, and we're taking about trying to prevent it in the future."
At his meeting with Twin Cities Somali leaders, Luger said his "Building Community Resiliency" plan includes a greater focus on youth programs, including in-school and after-school activities, to keep young people engaged in the broader community. It also includes expanded job training opportunities. A third component is making security screening at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport less burdensome, a sore point for many local Somalis who complain of unequal treatment.
Few details were publicly released Monday. Reporters were asked to leave a few minutes into Luger's presentation. He said he wanted to have a "private conversation" with the Somali leaders. Luger's spokesman, Ben Petok, said they weren't ready to discuss how much the initiative will cost.
Luger has been involved in extensive outreach to Minnesota's Somali community, the largest in the U.S., since he took the job in February, building on local and federal law enforcement efforts that have been going on for several years. Those efforts took on greater urgency in recent months after it emerged that a handful of local residents were persuaded to travel to Syria and fight for militants there, and that at least one died there. But the problem goes back to around 2007, when more than 22 young Somali men began traveling from Minnesota to Somalia to join al-Shabab in their war-torn homeland.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Minneapolis Somali man using cartoons to counter ISIS recruitment | Minnesota Public Radio News

Minneapolis Somali man using cartoons to counter ISIS recruitment | Minnesota Public Radio News

The U.S. Department of Justice this fall selected the Twin Cities as one of three locations that will test out a pilot program aimed to beat back violent extremism.
But one local Somali man is taking efforts into his own hands.
Mohamed Ahmed said he was frustrated with the lack of response to propaganda from extremist videos, so he has been producing cartoons at Average Mohamed aimed at young Muslims who could be recruited by ISIS.
The FBI says about a dozen young people have traveled from Minnesota to Syria to join radical groups there.
The videos, aimed at ages 8 to 16, often directly respond to videos already online.
"We take the ideology piece by piece, value for value, and we create that counter-narrative," he said on The Daily Circuit. "That counter-narrative is meant to question, challenge and agitate minds into not accepting what has been told in the propaganda videos that these organizations of extremism keep on creating."
Ahmed said he's taking the videos to mosques, community youth organizations and even families dealing with a family member joining an extremist group. He said it's important to reach the siblings in this moment to help them understand other ways to look at their religious beliefs.
Using words from the Quran, Ahmed says he uses his place as a "regular guy" to advocate for peace and explain why he believes suicide bombers go to hell.
Average Mohamed videos:

Embattled Somali PM to face 'no confidence' vote

Embattled Somali PM to face 'no confidence' vote

Somalia Lawmakers are scheduled to hold the first session of their meeting today to debate a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed.

Majority of the cabinet ministers called for the prime minister to resign, but Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed rejected the call. The prime minister will be forced to resign if more than 50 percent of the lawmakers vote against him.

Somali MP’s tried twice unsuccessfully to debate a no-confidence motion against the prime minister, but both attempts were halted by MP’s loyal to the prime minister.

Speaker of the Somalia Parliament, Mohamed Sheikh Osman (Jawari), warned that there will be no disruptions and chaos at this Parliamentary session, and that anyone who attempts to disturb the session will be dealt with to the full extent of the law.

It has been less than a year since lawmakers ousted Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon in a similar manner.

The current tension between the Somali president and prime minister has sparked international concern that Somalia could slide back into political turmoil.

MacAlister Elliott & Partners working on long-term development plan for fisheries in Somalia and Somaliland | Aquaculture Directory

MacAlister Elliott & Partners working on long-term development plan for fisheries in Somalia and Somaliland | Aquaculture Directory

MacAlister Elliott & Partners (MEP) is working on a long-term development plan for fisheries in Somalia and Somaliland that will help stimulate economic growth.
Working with federal and regional governments, and backed by public sector investment, MEP is providing strategic research and advice on how best to develop fisheries in the Horn of Africa to the benefit of local communities in a region long-stricken by conflict and instability.
Key areas of work include assessing fisheries with the potential for sustainable harvesting, the associated onshore support infrastructure required and identifying export markets for seafood products from Somalia and Somaliland. Tuna and other pelagic fisheries are seen as having best potential for sustainable development because most demersal stocks in the region have been over-exploited by the long distance fleets of other nations.
Stephen Akester of MEP said: “MacAlister Elliott & Partners has a long association with Somalia and Somaliland and we are currently using our expertise to help develop a long-term development plan for fisheries in the region.
“It is ironic that the offshore international naval force that patrols the region’s waters to combat piracy has offered an umbrella of protection for fishing vessels from other nations to overfish a number of key stocks in the area. However, there is good potential for a viable and profitable indigenous fisheries sector, and if successful, this would make a significant contribution towards economic and social stability.”

Saturday, November 22, 2014

How Some Americans Reacted to Obama's Immigration Announcement - ABC News

How Some Americans Reacted to Obama's Immigration Announcement - ABC News

Americans across the country gathered Thursday night to watch President Obama address the nation on the executive action he will take on immigration.
The president announced the most sweeping action on immigration in three decades, providing relief for an estimated 4.1 million undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and about 300,000 undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally as children.
"I know the politics of this issue are tough," Obama said during his address. "But let me tell you why I have come to feel so strongly about it. Over the past few years, I have seen the determination of immigrant fathers who worked two or three jobs without taking a dime from the government, and at risk at any moment of losing it all, just to build a better life for their kids."

Read more by clicking the headline.

Somali-born activist honored by Adelson Educational Campus | Las Vegas Review-Journal

Somali-born activist honored by Adelson Educational Campus | Las Vegas Review-Journal

Somali-born human rights activist, politician and author Ayaan Hirsi Ali will be honored today at the 11th annual In Pursuit of Excellence Gala.
Hirsi Ali, who has written three books including a memoir and an auto­biography, will be recognized by the Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Educational Campus for her support of women’s rights and universal access to education. She will receive the school’s highest recognition, the In Pursuit of Excellence Award.
Hirsi Ali, 45, was raised in a conservative Muslim family and survived civil war, female mutilation and brutal beatings before she fled to the Netherlands in 1992 to escape an arranged marriage. She convinced the government there that she was in need of political asylum and was granted refugee status.
A woman who grew up as a devout believer in the tradition and teachings of Islam, Hirsi Ali after the 9/11 attacks came to believe the Quran preached brutality, bigotry and the oppression of women.
Hirsi Ali won election to the Dutch Parliament in 2003, was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time Magazine in 2005 and received the Moral Courage Award from the American-Jewish Committee in 2006.
In 2004, Hirsi Ali joined a Dutch director in creating Submission, a contro­versial film about Muslim women in forced marriages who were beaten by their husbands. The director, Theo van Gogh, was shot and killed by an angry, radical Muslim man, and a letter threatening Hirsi Ali’s life was found stabbed to van Gogh’s chest.
Amid the controversy, reporters discovered Hirsi Ali had lied to government officials and was granted citizenship based on a false name and birth date. She resigned from the Dutch parliament and was stripped of her Dutch citizenship in 2006. She was offered a job with the American Enterprise Institute and moved to the United States.
The AHA Foundation, Hirsi Ali’s namesake, fights for the rights of Muslim women and girls in the United States who have been religiously and culturally oppressed. The foundation focuses on honor violence, forced marriage and female genital mutilation, which are common in some Muslim countries.
Today’s gala, which will be hosted by Sheldon Adelson, will be at 6 p.m. at The Venetian resort. All proceeds from the event will go toward the educational campus’ scholarship program that fulfills the school’s mission to never turn away a student because of financial hardship.

Family reunification allowed to Somali man, Supreme Court rules

Family reunification allowed to Somali man, Supreme Court rules


The State is entitled to cite financial costs as a reason for refusing refugees the right to bring family members to live with them in the State, the Supreme Court has ruled.
However, a Somali man whose family reunification application was refused is entitled to bring in his mother and young sister because the refusal was outside the range of proportionate decisions open to the Minister for Justice, the five-judge court also ruled.
Mr Justice Frank Clarke, giving the unanimous judgment, dismissed an appeal by the Minister against a High Court decision quashing the refusal. The High Court had found the automatic entitlement of certain family members to reunification under section 18 of the 1996 Refugee Act could not be refused on the basis the people involved would be dependent on the State for financial support.
The High Court also found no lawful or proper proportionality assessment of the “burden of supporting dependants” had taken place. The 29-year-old came as an asylum seeker in 2007 and later sought reunification with members of his family including his wife, daughter, mother and four of his siblings.

Somali author Nuruddin Farah on 'Hiding in Plain Sight' | Minnesota Public Radio News

Somali author Nuruddin Farah on 'Hiding in Plain Sight' | Minnesota Public Radio News

Nuruddin Farah: Novelist

Author Nuruddin Farah is out with his 12th novel, "Hiding in Plain Sight." The story revolves around an African family facing extreme tragedy and grief.
The book begins with a Somali UN official dying in an explosion shortly after receiving threatening notes from a terrorist.
Next we meet the dead man's half-sister, a glamorous photographer named Bella. She lives a life of sophisticated pleasures, in Rome and other places, but her brother's demise sinks her deeply in grief. Since his wife has long-ago abandoned the kids, Bella puts Rome and lovers behind her, packs her bags, and cameras, and heads to Nairobi to pick up her niece and nephew at boarding school. In Farah's words, she feels "she is answering a call to serve, almost a religious calling."

Nuruddin, born in Somalia, joins The Daily Circuit to talk about his latest novel. He told NPR about telling the story of his native country through fiction:
"I go to Somalia a great deal, perhaps, in part, to feed my imagination and also to be in touch with the experiences that other Somalis go through on a daily basis," he said. "But, in terms of writing as a writer, there's always a daily challenge when one goes into one's studio to write. And the bravest thing, I think, for a writer is to face an empty page. Almost everything else is less challenging until it comes to ... someone close to you -- as close as Basra was to me -- fall[ing] a victim to terrorism."

Soma Oil

SOil & Gas CEO On Somalia Oil Prospects

To Watch click this link: http://www.youtube.com/embed/L0wT3m76fDA?enablejsapi=1&autohide=2&controls=1&disablekb=0&fs=1&start=0&loop=0&rel=0&showinfo=0&theme=dark&modestbranding=1&wmode=transparent

Friday, November 21, 2014

Actor who played Somali pirate in Hollywood blockbuster starring Tom Hanks is jailed for brutal gang attack - Manchester Evening News

Actor who played Somali pirate in Hollywood blockbuster starring Tom Hanks is jailed for brutal gang attack - Manchester Evening News

An actor who played a Somali pirate in a Hollywood blockbuster led a gang who battered a man so severely he suffered a brain haemorrhage.
Mohammed Abdi had a minor role in the 2013 Tom Hanks movie Captain Phillips - an action film the sentencing judge said he had seen ‘more than once’.
But away from the cameras Abdi was part of a hotheaded mob who ambushed rivals as they were coming out of south Manchester takeaways.
In the first attack, the victim was on his way out of Kansas Fried Chicken at Wilmslow Road, Rusholme, when his attackers, led by Abdi, pulled up in a Nissan Micra and set upon him.
The man was kicked into unconsciousness and suffered a fractured cheekbone, before being bundled into a car, driven off, and released after an hour.
Prosecutor Katy Jones said Abdi had previously been involved in a fraud case with the victim, and called him a ‘grass’ before the attack, at 6am, March 2, 2013.
The victim, who suffered a brain haemorrhage afterwards, told police he had been ‘paraded’ through the streets while unconscious, although this has not been proven.
At 10am on August 17 this year, Abdi also took part in a gang assault on a man suspected of insulting his friend in the McFresh bakery at Claremont Road, Moss Side.
The victim was cut to the arm after Abdi attacked him with a bottle in front of horrified staff and customers.
David Temkin, defending, said there was ‘another side’ to Abdi, who had a well-paid sales job and had enjoyed the ‘privileged experience’ of nine weeks filming in Morocco after being cast as in Captain Phillips, which tells the story of an oil tanker boarded by pirates.
Judge Martin Rudland, sentencing, said: “Was he in the capsule at the end when the Navy Seals were trying to get in? When I watched this film I thought where have they got these fantastic Somali actors from? They are extremely convincing.”
Jailing Abdi, 29, of Princess Road, Moss Side, for two-and-half years after he admitted two GBH charges, the judge said it was a ‘great shame’ to see him in the dock for the ‘deplorable’ attacks after his big screen achievement.
Describing the first incident, Judge Rudland said: “It’s a whisker between behaviour of this sort and death, but you were completely unmindful of that. Even when you got him unconscious on the pavement, lying there like a rag doll, you go about that appalling display of dragging, moving and shifting the dead weight of his body to get him into a motorcar.”
Abdi’s accomplices in that attack, Mohammed Omar Ali, 33, of Stockport Road, Longsight, and Hamid Hassan, 27, of Acomb Street, Hulme, were jailed for two years after admitting GBH.
His accomplices in the second attack, Ismail Warsama, 30, of Hammersmith, London, and Abdi Arteh, of Princess Road, Moss Side, got 12-month suspended sentences after admitting affray. Warsama has 180 hours unpaid work and a programme requirement, while Arteh has 150 unpaid work, a programme requirement and 12-months supervision.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Feature: Somali boy's painful struggle in street | Shanghai Daily

Feature: Somali boy's painful struggle in street | Shanghai Daily

Three years ago, Mohamed Hussein was a determined school boy who wanted to be either a doctor or a civil engineer when he stayed in Mama Halima orphanage school in Mogadishu. Now the 13-year-old, however, sees his future as dark.

Hussein was taken to Mama Halima school five years ago, where he was received as an orphan, given primary care and was accommodated, but it lasted only two years before he ended up in the street to struggle for survival.
Abused, mistreated and regularly beaten by both the older street boys and members of the public, Hussein's difficult life in the street is a legacy of cycle of violent war that torn his family apart and made him a lost boy.
Today, Hussein lives under Politecnico Bridge in Waberi district in Mogadishu, with dozens of other street children whose lives depend on sniffing glues and trashes dumped by the restaurants.
"I am a street boy, I am nothing," Hussein said, responding a question about his name and age. "I am a glue sniffer. I am an orphan," he continued.
The difficult journey that brought him to the street began in 2010, when stray bullets killed his mother in his home in the capital's Hawlwadag district. His father was not in Mogadishu when his mother was killed, and he was told that his father migrated to Yemen and had never communicated back.
More than 5,000 children under 18 live in the streets of Mogadishu without primary care, and are victimized by conservative civilian members, invisible organized groups and armed militia.
"I saw a lot of my friends killed by street violence. Some lost their hands and legs because of road-side explosions, and I saw soldiers raping young street girls," said Hussein. "There is only a dark future ahead of me."
Over the years, Hussein saw unidentified persons visiting the street children overnight and pressuring them to be informants for them. He also regularly sees armed militia exploiting the poor boys and using them for illegal businesses.
"Sometimes armed militia comes to the older boys and they ask them to follow them; they use them to search the people in the dark alleys when they commit robbery," he said. "They give you some money to buy food and glue for motivation."
Hussein also experienced some of his friends in the streets arrested by either police or national security forces for interrogations related to activities they were forced to involve by what he calls "ruthless" militia men.
Hussein covers his daily life with restaurant remains dumped in the trash, and sometimes he goes to the market to offer the shop owners a service of removing trash in exchange of bread and tea.
He refused to say how many times he was abused, but he said that he is not spared from the consecutive abuses committed by the street children themselves.
"Coming to the street is not easy, I used to cry for help and no one was coming to help me. Everyone who came to the street before me wanted to abuse me, but as days counted I got an ideal big brother. He protects me and I serve for him," Hussein described. "No mercy in the street, the most painful night is when you don't have glue to sniff."
Before the September presidential elections in 2012, Hussein met the current president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud who visited the street children as a presidential candidate then.
"The president was leading a campaigning team; they cleaned here for us and gave us some food and T-shirts," Hussein recalled. "He promised to give us home, we are still waiting."
The Somali constitution primarily guarantees the child protection, but due to the missing of all public services in the country, there is no current policy that focuses on the care of the thousands of homeless children living in the streets of Mogadishu.
Hassan Yusuf, a child protection official of Centre for Peace and Human Rights (CPHR), said that the street children increased for the last 6 years in Somalia.
"I believe the number of the street children is more than 6,000 to 10,000, because the violent war against Al-Shabaab and the severe famine of 2011 caused thousands of children to lose their parents and they live in the streets without caregivers," said Yusuf.
"Over the years, they were recruited as fighters, girls were sexually assaulted, boys as well and they are seen as bad people," said Yusuf, adding that there are no kindergartens and available orphanage centres, and the Somali government is yet to place any childcare program in place.
Nevertheless, Hussein called for the Somalia government and the international community to "turn their kindly eyes on the kids in the streets".
"I need to sleep a safe place; I need to go to school; I need eat and play without fear; I need to be like the children that have their parents," he said. "I request everyone including the government, the international agencies and good Samaritans to give us hope and help us."

Standard Digital News : : The Counties - Three Somali nationals linked to Gikomba, Nairobi terror attack remanded

Standard Digital News : : The Counties - Three Somali nationals linked to Gikomba, Nairobi terror attack remanded

A Nairobi court has declined to release on bail a man and two women of Somali origin believed to be behind the terrorist attack in Gikomba market in May. Ten people died and scores were injured in the attack on the busy market.
The court heard that the three were arrested on October 25 by Anti-Terrorism Police Unit (ATPU) officers as they were planning retaliatory terror attacks in Nairobi, after allegedly entering the country from Somalia.
Milimani Senior Principal Magistrate Joseph Karanja remanded Abdirahman Jamal, Mariam Abdi and Joweriyo Hassan pending the hearing and determination of their case on December 1, after they pleaded not guilty to three counts of terror-related charges.
The magistrate was told ATPU investigators obtained an order from the High Court on October 27 allowing them to remand the accused so they could complete investigations.
The magistrate said the prosecution presented in court had compelling reasons that prompted him to remand the three awaiting their December 1 trial.
"The charges against the accused are serious. I take judicial notice of the frequent terror attacks that the country has been subjected to in the recent past and direct the accused to remain in custody pending the hearing of their case," Mr Karanja ruled.
According to police, Jamal, Abdi and Hassan were arrested through an operation mounted by ATPU officers in the city's Eastleigh estate two weeks ago as police issued an alert that members of Al-Shabaab had been dispatched in the city and were getting ready to carry out deadly attacks in the country.
Through a Somali interpreter, the suspects yesterday pleaded guilty to the charges but on being read the facts by the prosecutor, they denied committing the offences.

Miniskirts are only a symptom of Kenya's problems with women, protesters say

Miniskirts are only a symptom of Kenya's problems with women, protesters say

Nearly 1,000 Kenyans protested in the streets of Nairobi on Monday, condemning the public assaults of several Kenyan women supposedly for wearing provocative clothing.
The latest assault occurred last week, when a woman was stripped naked at a bus stop by a group of men who accused her of "tempting" men. The assault was captured on video and posted online, catching the attention of women's groups and prompting Kenyans to protest.
"As African women, we are taught how to be silent," says Caroline Chege, who joined the demonstration, "but today, we said 'enough is enough.'"
Chege says there's a double standard in how men and women dress in Nairobi. "The men can walk around in shorts and no clothes but no one says anything," she says. "But when a woman dresses a certain way [the men] are not comfortable with, they will strip her naked and violate her most human right."
Local authorities have said they are looking into the incidents, but no one has been arrested so far. Chege wants the government to get more involved, and is angry at Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta for remaining silent on the issue.
"The president has a daughter who's a young girl, and he has a wife," Chege points out. "I wanted my president to speak for the women."
Protesters are calling for a database that lists the names of people who commit sexual assault against women and children. "The police are saying they don't know who the culprits are in the attacks," Chege says, but with one of the assaults caught on video, the police should "rise up and take tangible action."
Although the attacks have drawn attention to the way women dress in Kenya, Chege says "this is not about mini-skirts," but rather the general treatment of women. 
Chege recalls being threatened and assaulted when she was the only woman to run in a local election last year. "The police used to call me every Monday morning to see if I was alive," she says. "Women have contributed so much to Kenyan society ... we cannot have men disrespecting us and violating our daughters, our sisters."

Monday, November 17, 2014

Somali PM urges ministers to keep out of political crisis | Africa | Worldbulletin News

Somali PM urges ministers to keep out of political crisis | Africa | Worldbulletin News

Somali Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed on Monday called on his ministers to keep out of his political dispute with  President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud and asked them to concentrate on doing their jobs.
The call came as a response to a petition signed by 14 of his ministers to step down over his differences with the country's president.
In a statement issued by his office, Ahmed said that the petition signed by the 14 ministers had not reached his office, expressing regret over the gesture.
He also called on the signatories not to "become a tool for negating the constitution and state institutions."
Earlier Monday, 14 Somali ministers urged the premier to step down as a way out of an ongoing political crisis that pitted the premier against the country's president.
"Differences between [Somali] President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud and his prime minister have had a negative impact on the functioning of the government," a statement that carried the signatures of 14 out of the cabinet's 25 ministers said.
"Therefore, we call on the prime minister to step down for the good of the country, which is facing a serious crisis," the statement added.
Among the signatories to the statement are the ministers of interior, justice, foreign affairs, defense and finance.
The crisis erupted when Ahmed objected to an "unconstitutional" cabinet reshuffle carried out last month by Mohamud, calling on outgoing cabinet officials to ignore the move and carry on with their duties.
On Tuesday, the Somali parliament postponed a session convened to discuss a proposed motion to withdraw confidence from the prime minister.
The session was delayed after opposition MPs chanted slogans against the notion, prompting the parliament speaker to postpone the session indefinitely, according to an Anadolu Agency reporter.
Earlier this month, both the European Union and UN called on the president and prime minister to end their political differences.
Somalia has remained in the grip of on-again, off-again violence since the outbreak of civil war in 1991.
Yet, the country appeared to inch closer to stability this year after government troops and African Union forces drove the Al-Shabaab group from most of its strongholds.

Violent protests amid Somali political power struggles | Zee News

Violent protests amid Somali political power struggles | Zee News

At least two people were killed Monday in clashes in the Somali town of Baidoa, the latest violence in the war-torn nation sparked by political power struggles, police said.
The United Nations, United States and European Union have all warned political power struggles are putting at risk fragile gains in the Horn of Africa nation.
Hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets, burning tires and attacking vehicles, in a bid to stop elections for the local president of the federal South West state based in Baidoa, some 250 kilometres (155 miles) northwest of the capital.
"The demonstration turned violent after people started burning tires and threw stones at vehicles, then they stopped a pickup with gunmen who opened fire," said local police officer Mohamed Adris.
A pickup truck was later torched and hurled off a bridge, with two people killed in the fighting, witness Osman Sheikh Mumin said.
African Union troops, deployed to fight alongside government troops against Al-Qaeda affiliated Shebab militants, protected the centre where voting took place.
Local officials said former national parliament speaker, Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden, was elected to the post.
Somalia has splintered in multiple local regions, with varying degrees of autonomy and acceptance of the internationally-backed central government in Mogadishu, where leaders propped up by billions in foreign aid are also competing for power.
"The aim of the violent demonstration was only to disrupt the conference and the election... AU soldiers stopped them from reaching the venue and the situation is under control," said local elder Mohamed Isack.
The violence comes as national President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud left for meetings with foreign donors in Copenhagen, and amid repeated calls for calm by foreign donors.
In Mogadishu, tensions remain high, with the president and his prime minister, Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed, at odds for months, with two failed attempts by lawmakers to push a vote of no confidence in Ahmed.
UN envoy Nicholas Kay on Monday warned that the "ongoing political crisis in Somalia is a serious risk to further progress."
The Somali government, which took power in August 2012, was the first to be given global recognition since the collapse of Siad Barre`s hardline regime in 1991.
Political wrangles and reports of corruption have raised concern the government, like the last administration, is blighted by infighting and failing to unite in the face of the threat by the Shebab.
AFP

Somalia's al Shabaab launch attack on presidential compound | News , Middle East | THE DAILY STAR

Somalia's al Shabaab launch attack on presidential compound | News , Middle East | THE DAILY STAR

Al Shabaab Islamist militants said they had launched mortars at Somalia's presidential palace in the capital Mogadishu on Sunday, but spokesmen for the Somali government and the police said none had landed inside the compound.
"We have fired several mortar rounds on the presidential palace, and we will give details later," Abu Musab, the spokesman for al Shabaab's military operations, told Reuters.


Read more: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2014/Nov-16/277805-somalias-al-shabaab-launch-attack-on-presidential-compound.ashx#ixzz3JKmeuukD
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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Somali taxi driver beaten and threatened in Lieksa | Yle Uutiset | yle.fi

Somali taxi driver beaten and threatened in Lieksa | Yle Uutiset | yle.fi

Somali-born Abdi is the first dark-skinned taxi driver ever to be hired in Lieksa, North Karelia. A week ago, after two months on the job, he was threatened, verbally abused and physically assaulted after his night shift. Police are investigating the incident as a racist crime.

Taksikuski ajaa autoa 
Police are investigating the Lieksa taxi driver's assault as a racially motivated crime. Image: Yle / Lasse Laitinen
Abdi (full name undisclosed) moved to Finland in 2008. He ended up in the town of Lieksa, in North Karelia, after first living in Turku and Oulu. He attended school at the Lieksa Christian Community College and currently studies at a vocational school. He started driving a cab two months ago.
That’s when Abdi became the first dark-skinned taxi driver in the history of the town of Lieksa. The new cabby’s arrival immediately ruffled feathers in the taxi drivers’ community.
”Someone called me at once saying ’What the hell, you’ve hired a somali!’” says entrepreneur Pauli Meriläinen, who gave Abdi his job. ”The person on the other end said he wanted to know what was going on.”
Local customers were also baffled by Abdi’s presence behind the wheel.
”Whenever I drive my taxi, the first comment anyone offers is usually that I am a black man driving a cab,” says Abdi himself. ”They ask me where I got my driver’s licence and so on. There are a lot of racist people here. But I don’t think everyone in Lieksa is the same.”

Insults, death threats and a beating in one night

The first two months of Abdi’s contract went fairly smoothly, not counting the occasional verbal confrontation. But over the second weekend of November, everything changed.
Abdi says he was driving his taxi in the centre of Lieksa on Friday night. His night shift was just beginning, and Friday nights are busy.
Early in the evening a man flagged Abdi down and asked to be driven far away from the centre. Soon Abdi had to bring him back, however, as the man threatened to kill him.
”After I started driving he also kept calling me the N-word the whole way,” Abdi says. ”I turned back and brought him back to the centre, where the man refused to pay for his trip.”
Abdi then called the police and informed them of the incident. His shift continued without incident, until all the bars in the centre closed.
In the small hours, Abdi picked up two out-of-town men who were on their way to a remote location. On arriving at the destination one of the men got out, claiming to retrieve cash.
”He got out of the car, stopped at the house door and told me to come and get the money,” Abdi recounts. ”I told him I would not. Then he said if I wouldn’t get out, he would kill me. Finally he came back to the car, grabbed the steering wheel and tried to hit me. He then dragged me out of the car and hit me over the head with an object. There was a lot of blood; he threatened to kill me again, and tried to throw me in the river.”
”I got away at last, got into the taxi and locked all the doors. The whole thing took about 15 minutes,” Abdi says.

Assaults on drivers rare, says Taxi Federation

Police are investigating the assault as a racially motivated crime and as assault and battery, unlawful threatening and misdemeanor fraud. Police also say that investigating the night’s events is difficult, as the taxi did not have a security camera.
”The courts will determine the exact course of events later,” says Antti Arponen from the Eastern Finland police. ”But it is a terribly sad case. For someone to want to work, and for this to happen to them.”
The Finnish Taxi Owners’ Federation says they consider the incident extremely unfortunate. The Federation says that assaults on drivers are very uncommon.
”Yearly there are very few,” communications chief Katja Saksa says. ”We don't have any hard statistics, but it’s rare alright.”
Abdi says he has decided to stop driving his taxi, at least at night. He says he wants to move away from Lieksa.
”I got a job, and I want to pay taxes,” he says. ”I want to pay for my daily needs myself, with my own money. I want life to go forward. But in Lieksa, I am afraid.”

Chinese embassy donates aid stuff to Somali hospital - Xinhua | English.news.cn

Chinese embassy donates aid stuff to Somali hospital - Xinhua | English.news.cn

The Chinese embassy in Somalia on Saturday donated aid stuff to a hospital in the country's capital,Mogadishu.
The aid stuff, consisting of food, drinks, medicines and tanks of fuel, was delivered to Banadir Mother and Child Hospital, which was built for Somalia by the Chinese government in 1970s. Chinese Ambassador to Somalia Wei Hongtian handed the aid to Somalia's acting minister of health.
"Health is important for all members of the community, and every person needs a healthy life, specially mothers and children. Today I am very happy to present the different kinds of aid Chinese Embassy donated to Banadir hospital," Wei said.
"This hospital was built by China in 1977 and Chinese doctors have been working in this hospital for a long time to help the Somali people, and that was a good sign of the friendship between the two nations and their people," continued the ambassador.
Speaking Somali language, the ambassador confirmed that the Chinese government is committed to help the people and the government of Somalia, and urged the Somali people to unite for the interest of their nation, and develop the country.
Acting minister of health Ahmed Aden Ahmed received the aid from the embassy on behalf of the Somali government, and commended the embassy's efforts to help the Somali people.
"This huge hospital is built as donations for us by our brothers of China. The government of China has been sending its doctors to this hospital to help our people, and I am very much happy to see China helping us again," said the health official.
This is the second aid shipment the Chinese embassy has donated to Somalia this month. On November 2, the embassy donated 20,000 U. S. dollars of cash to the Somalia emergency funds for the drought- affected communities.
The hospital, which is part of the China implemented projects in Somalia such as the National Theatre, the Mogadishu Stadium and Sport Village, is one of the biggest public hospitals in the country.

GEESKA AFRIKA ONLINE The Horn of Africa Intelligence News Group » Somalia Parliament closed prematurely without proceedings

The Horn of Africa Intelligence News Group » Somalia Parliament closed prematurely without proceedings

A Somali Parliamentary debate on whether to sack Somali Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed descended into chaos again. Therefore, Somalia Parliament closed prematurely without official proceedings as parliamentarians once again disagreed over the debate concerning the Motion of No Confidence in the Somali Prime Minister, Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed.
Jawaari_nov2014
A few irresponsible people are shaming our parliament, 165 lawmakers who signed a draft motion of no-confidence against the Prime Minister
As soon as the debate on the motion was due to begin, supporters of the Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed started singing the Somali National Anthem and other nationalistic songs to disrupt official proceedings and prevent the vote of No-Confidence motion debate taking place. Many of these supporters of the Prime Minister also held up signs opposing the motion and offering their support to the Prime Minister who is fighting for his political life.
The Somali parliamentary session which was already running behind schedule ended almost as it began with these disruptions as the Speaker of Parliament, Mohamed Sheikh Osman Jawaari, brought it to an end after his calls for calm were rejected by protesting pro-Prime Minister lawmakers.

Somalia has remained in the grip of on-again, off-again violence since the outbreak of civil war in Somaliland in 1980s.
It is believed that there are about 165 lawmakers who signed a draft motion of no-confidence against the Prime Minister and many of these were frustrated with the outcome of the meeting in parliament today. More stressing for them is how long this behaviour will continue on the part of the Prime Minister’s supporters and what they can do about it next time.
“A few irresponsible people are shaming our parliament by not doing what they should do as lawmakers,” said an MP who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “I don’t support neither the President nor Prime Minister but people have to let parliament do its job.”
Other lawmakers who were approached for interviews expressed deep disappointment in their colleagues supporting the Prime Minister’s actions today but most understood that this is the only way his supporters can delay the vote or “pressurize the international community to help the Prime Minister.”
A regional security observer working with a regional security technical advisor to the Parliament who attended as an observer said that he had seen all this before with the former Prime Minister of Somalia, Abdi Farah Shirdon and all it does is sadly “delay the inevitable” unless their is reconciliation between President Hassan Sheikh and Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed.

UN agency cuts rations by half to Somali, Sudanese refugees - Newspaper - DAWN.COM

UN agency cuts rations by half to Somali, Sudanese refugees - Newspaper - DAWN.COM

Facing shortage of funds, the United Nations Food Agency (WFP) has cut rations to about half a million refugees, mainly from Somalia and South Sudan, the world body announced on Friday.
The 50 per cent ration cut comes as WFP struggles to raise $38 million to cover its refugee operations for the next six months. This includes $15.5 million that is urgently required to address food needs through January.
“Cutting rations is the last resort and we’re doing it to eke out the limited food we currently have available over the next ten weeks, as we continue to appeal to the international community to assist,” said Paul Turnbull, WFP deputy director for Kenya, in a press release on Friday.
“WFP has done everything it can to avoid reducing rations, using all means at our disposal to cover critical funding gaps,” he added.

Somali community warns bank transfer crackdown could lead to terror funding - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Somali community warns bank transfer crackdown could lead to terror funding - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Australia's Somali community is warning that the threat posed by terror groups in the African country could increase because of tough banking regulations that prevent them from sending money home.
Westpac is the last of the major banks facilitating money transfers between Australia and Somalia, but it will end the service later this month.
The move by Australian banks has been in response to tougher international banking regulations in regards to crime and terror funding.
But the crackdown leaves Australia's 20,000-strong Somali community with no legal way to transfer money home.
Melbourne nurse Nasro Yussf warned this could make people turn to crime to secure the basics for their families.
Ms Yussf sends $400 to her family each month to pay for food, shelter and the education of two of her cousins.
She said if she could not continue to send money home, her cousins would be pulled out of school.
"Basic necessities like food and shelter and education and health are reliant on the diaspora community and if that stops then people are going to turn to crime," Ms Yussf said.
"People will seek help or accept help from (terror group) Al Shabab, (who) say 'we'll support your every move if you can feed us'.
"Stopping the remittance flow of money will stop the country's progress in its tracks."
The UN has estimated in some parts of Somalia up to 40 per cent of families are reliant on money sent from overseas.
There is no structural economy in the country and the unemployment rate is more than 50 per cent.

Crackdown 'could force money onto black market'

Most Australian Somalis use businesses that use the "hawala" system to send money to Somalia as there are no formal banks in the war-torn country.
Money is paid out in Somalia without actually being transferred and the debt is settled at a later date, often by through a bank account in a third country.
However, the operations require bank accounts outside Somalia to operate.
Financial crime expert Dr Hugh McDermott said the banks had been forced to stop servicing the businesses because they could not prove where the money was going once it left their networks.
"There's been an ongoing concern for a couple of years, led by the AFP (Australian Federal Police), that if (remitters) weren't regulated and weren't controlled, terror groups could pass money offshore and you wouldn't be able to tell where that went," Mr McDermott said.
But he said the crackdown could force more money into criminal networks and terror groups.
"Legitimate regulated remitters will go out of business because they can't transfer the money, and so people in different ethnic communities will go to underground remitters which is often organised crime or have links to terrorism."
Banks in the UK and USA have also been tightening regulations around remittances to Somalia.
However government interventions in both countries mean money is still flowing for now.
Chairman of the Somali Australian Council of Victoria Hussein Haraco said similar action needed to happen Australia.
"This is a real life line for people in Somalia," Mr Haraco said.
"We want the Government and the banks to talk and come up with a solution."
A spokesperson for the Attorney-General's department said the situation was challenging and it was monitoring the situation.

Weekly Statement : Progress of the Somali Government | Diplomat News Network

Weekly Statement : Progress of the Somali Government | Diplomat News Network

The Minister of Information, Mustafa Duhulow, today addressed the media, providing an update on the progress of the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) over the last week. The Minister discussed various issues: the Human Rights Bill; the implementation of development projects in Somalia; food aid distribution in Adale and Baidoa; the progress of the New Deal; the sentencing of number of criminals in court; progress in the telecommunications industry and in education; Somali media sector development; and the Stabilization Process in Mogadishu.
The Minister of Information begun by speaking on the Human Rights Bill: “On 8th November 2014, the Ministry of Women & Human Rights Development published the draft Human Rights Bill that aims to end all human rights violations in Somalia, abuses such as violence towards women and other vulnerable groups in our society. The participants discussed the best ways to implement the legislation after the cabinet and the parliament approve the bill. Human Rights Experts, lawyers and intellectuals were among those who discussed the bill with a view to finalizing the draft before it was presented to the cabinet. Abdi Hosh stressed the importance of the bill and said this is the first step towards curing all human rights abuses in the country. The next step will be the implementation of the legislation. Khadija Mohamed Dirie, the Minister of Women & Human Rights Affairs, stated that FGS prioritizes human rights and the urgent need to stop all violations and that is why the ministry prepared the bill, to protect the rights of individuals and take tough action against those violate human rights of citizens, in particular sexual violence towards women.”
The Minister of Information spoke on the importance of implementing development projects in Somalia: “The FGS is pleased to hear of the government of Germany’s commitment to provide Somalia the sum of 38 million Euros as part of the aid allocation that Germany donated to Somali Government in 1979. On 08 November 2014 the government of Germany stated its commitment to honour its previous pledge to the FGS in for the implementation of development projects in Somalia. The Ministry of Planning & International Cooperation organized an event in Mogadishu to discuss how best to implement projects. The Somali Ambassador to Germany, members of the cabinet and parliament as well as experts and representatives from Banadir region administration were among those present at the event. Deputy Minister Abdullahi Sheikh Ali (Qalocow) thanked Germany for honouring the commitment made to the previous government and stated that the money will be used to develop the agricultural sector, to build bridges and canals to prevent rivers flooding as well as numerous other valuable projects. The Federal Government has appointed a technical committee to study and report back to the government on the best ways to implement development projects throughout Somalia.”
The Minister of Information spoke on humanitarian assistance provided to residents in Adale and Baidoa: “The FGS with the support of Centre for Community Awareness (CCA) and Zamzam Foundation provided medical aid to Adale district on 07 November 2014 and food aid to Baidoa on 11 November 2014. CCA specifically provided medical aid to 250 families in Adale district in Middle Shabelle region. Mohamed Ibrahim Cajiib, the Director of CCA, stated that the aim of the medical assistance was to support families affected by the flooding and conflicts in the area (an area that was recently recovered from Al-Shabab terrorists). Muhiadin Sudi Moallim, the District Commissioner of Adale, thanked CCA and appealed to other organisations to follow suit. On the other hand, Zamzam Foundation provided food aid and plastic sheeting for use during the raining season in Baidoa. A total of 240 families received rice, sugar, flour and plastic sheets.”
The Minister of Information spoke on the progress of the New Deal: “ Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, the President of Somalia, on 10 November 2014 opened the High Level Partnership Forum (HLPF) in Mogadishu where the progress of the New Deal and the upcoming Copenhagen conference were discussed The President stated that the FGS is committed to implementing the Vision 2016, including reviewing the provisional constitution, implementing federal states and holding elections by 2016. The President stressed the importance of a Somali-led and Somali-owned process for implementing the New Deal and the need to reach out to all regions of Somalia. The aim of the meeting was to finalize the progress report on the New Deal. Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed, the Prime Minister of Somalia also spoke at the meeting and stated that the government has achieved a lot during the last year since the New Deal was agreed, notably improvements in security, formation of interim federal units, and many other improvements. The Prime Minister said that the momentum of progress needed to be maintained. The UN SRSG, Nicholas Kay, stated that there have been huge progress in Somalia despite the challenges of the last two years and asked all concerned parties to redouble their efforts to implement Vision 2016.”
The Minister of Information spoke on the sentencing of criminals: “The Military High Court on 11 November sentenced a number of criminals to death. A 24 year old man, Adan Abdi Ibrahim, killed a soldier and, after the court considered all the evidence, convicted him and sentenced him to death. A 21 year old man, Ahmed-Nur Guure (Dhungoye), raped a girl and after the court hearing all evidences convicted him and sentenced him to death. The Somali President on 28 January 2014 issued Decree Number 5, which clearly states that the Government has zero tolerance of the rape or the murder of citizens. The FGS is committed to stopping all sexual violence towards girls and women and the court’s decision is an example of how the government would like to send a strong message to those who violate the human rights and the dignity of vulnerable groups in the society. The aim of the death penalty is to show zero tolerance and to deter criminals with a view to ultimately halting killings and rapes and bringing peace and stability to Somalia.”
The Minister of Information spoke on developments in the telecommunications sector in Somalia: “On 10th November the Ministry of Posts & Telecommunications met with representatives of Telecommunications Industry in order to evaluate progress in the sector and to discuss previous agreements. H.E. Mohamed Ibrahim, the Minister of Posts & Telecom, provided an update on his recent visit to South Korea and stressed the importance of the consultation meeting. He also urged better coordination and partnership between telecommunications industry and the ministry. The Minister thanked and congratulated the representatives of the sector who were in attendance on the successful implementation of Phase 1 of interconnection between telephone providers and asked them to quickly implement Phase 2, which is to reach out to all the regions in the country without interconnection, so that every citizen will be able to receive value for money services from the industry. The Ministry updated the telecommunications industry on the new agreement between 8 African countries so that all these countries will be able to call each other with very competitive price similar to local calls (Local Rate Roaming). This agreement will be effective from next month. The countries that signed this agreement are Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Uganda, South Sudan, Rwanda and Burundi. The Ministry and the representatives of the telecommunications Industry concluded by agreeing that telephone operators should bill customers by seconds instead of minutes. The FGS is constantly introducing new initiatives to help citizens to get access to telephone communications while also ensuring value for money.”
The Minister of Information spoke on development in the education sector in Somalia: “On 13 November, Duale Adan Mohamed, the Minister of Higher Education encouraged 50 students who were about to travel to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia as part of scholarship scheme of the Ministry, to be good ambassadors and to be role models for their country. These students passed scholarship exams that the FGS administered on behalf of Ethiopia. These students they will study in universities in Addis Ababa. The Minister emphasized the importance of education and appealed to the 50 students to study very hard and then to come back to Somalia with knowledge, experience and expertise s that they could make a valuable contribution in Somalia. The students thanked the FGS and Ethiopia and showed their appreciation for this opportunity to enhance their skills and knowledge. The FGS is totally committed to providing opportunities for students to gain a world class experience from abroad, so that they can assist in the development of education in Somalia.”
The Minister of Information spoke on the Media Sector Development in Somalia: “On 13th November 2014 I was pleased to speak at the closing ceremony of a 5 day seminar that the Ministry of Information organized for communications practitioners from ministries of the Federal Government and Banadir Regional Administration. I would like to thank Albany Associates of UK for running the course and the UK Embassy to Somalia for sponsoring the training. Subjects taught over the 5 days included how to better devise, implement and assess the effectiveness of a communications strategy, as well as the basic skills of writing press releases, interview techniques and social media messaging. I emphasize the importance of these kinds of training courses to develop and enhance the media sector in Somalia. We aim to develop the talents of Somali communications experts so that in the future they will be able to conduct similar training for Somali media practitioners including private media sector.”
The Minister of Information spoke finally on the Stabilization Process in Mogadishu: “Security institutions, with the support of public, have been conducting house to house searches in Mogadishu. On 13 November 2014, the security forces conducted targeted raids to capture those responsible for killings of government officials in Mogadishu on 11 & 12 November 2014. As a direct result of the operation, security forces captured 5 members of Al-Shabaab who were the prime suspects in the killings. They also seized weapons, vehicles and explosives. The operation was aimed at specific locations identified through intelligence and deliberately avoided unnecessary disruption to the lives of ordinary citizens. Mohamed Yusuf Osman, the spokesperson of the Ministry of National Security, spoke to the media and stated that they has captured 5 suspects in relation to killings in Mogadishu on 11 & 12 November 2014. He also stated that this kind of targeted operations will continue until the threat posed by terrorists is totally eliminated.”

Saturday, November 15, 2014

MN Guard, Somali leaders join forces to attract recruits | Star Tribune

MN Guard, Somali leaders join forces to attract recruits | Star Tribune

The Minnesota National Guard did not want to lose Mohamed Mohamud.

The high school senior was eager to enlist, but his mother, a refugee of Somalia’s brutal civil war, balked. Where Mohamud saw new experiences and money for college, his family saw danger. So the Guard took the unusual step of sending a longtime Muslim member to Mohamud’s home to address his family’s fears and secure their blessing.

Somali-Americans have enlisted in the Guard and U.S. military for years, but by all accounts, the numbers have remained low. As in Mohamud’s case, recruiters come up against concerns about balancing service and the Muslim faith, the anxiety of refugees who fled armed conflict — and, some acknowledge, their own lack of awareness of the growing community.

But recently, Somali community leaders and Guard recruiters have both made overtures. The Guard networked with a Somali youth group and turned up at a community celebration. Some Somalis are touting the opportunities of military service — both for young recruits and a community that doesn’t want to be defined by the recent departures of youths to join radical Islamist militants.

They say young people and even their more skeptical parents are listening.

“The world is becoming smaller, and the Somali community is getting bigger here,” said Yusuf Ali, a Somali community leader. “We need to be more engaged. We need to be stakeholders in this state.”

Surprisingly warm welcome

This August, Master Sgt. Kyle Mack of the Minnesota Air National Guard helped set up a display at the Somali Independence Day celebration on Lake Street: a tent and a Humvee with a Somali flag draped over the hood at the organizers’ request, to show solidarity. This was the Guard’s first appearance at the 14-year-old event, and Mack braced for a chilly reception.

But the Humvee was a hit with parents and children, who posed for photos in the driver’s seat. More than 50 people signed up for a tour of the local Air Guard base. About 35 filled out cards to signal interest in considering service.

A Somali police officer told Lt. Col. Angela Steward-Randle, the Guard’s director of diversity, “You don’t usually see the military this well-received at Somali events.”

The U.S. armed forces do not track the national origin of members, but anecdotally, Somali-American recruits remain relatively rare. The Minnesota Air Guard’s 1,200 members at its Minneapolis base do not include any Somalis, though a man who attended the Independence Day event has applied.

Last year, the Guard asked Yaser Ishtaiwi, a 22-year Guard member who grew up in the Middle East, to mediate with Mohamud’s family. Ishtaiwi sat down with the teen, his mother and an older sister in their St. Paul living room.

The young man, then a senior at Central High School, would lose his focus and never graduate if he enlisted, the women argued. He would be whisked off to full-time service, and they wouldn’t see him for years. Unable to practice his faith, he’d drift away from Islam.

Ishtaiwi countered by pointing to his own experience: He went to college with the Guard’s financial support. A full-time engineer, he trains with the Guard two days a month. He has remained a devout Muslim.

As a new immigrant, Ishtaiwi once clung to the Twin Cities expat Palestinian community and shunned risk-taking: “You stick to your routine without exploring. Joining the Guard, I was able to crawl out of that isolation.”

A new view of military

Community leaders say Somalis have not joined in large numbers for a tangle of reasons. Youths and families don’t always know about the college funding and career training or the part-time service in the Guard. Mohamed Mohamud, the head of the Somali American Parent Association, says parents — survivors of civil war in which many saw the military as an oppressive force — often quash interest in enlisting.

“What they say to me is, ‘We ran away from the killing, and you want to send our kids to be killed?’ ” he said.

Somali-Americans are especially fearful their children might fight against fellow Muslims — and harm Muslim civilians in the process. They know less about other roles recruits might play, such as responding to natural disasters, says Ahmed Samatar, professor of international studies at Macalester College.

“The Guard needs to be more proactive and more sophisticated in reaching out to the community,” Samatar said.

Nationally, since the start of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the military has worked to recruit more Muslims for their language skills and cultural know-how. Former President George W. Bush opened a fast track to citizenship for legal residents who join the armed forces. By recent estimates, about 8,000 do each year.

Master Sgt. Timothy Allen, a veteran recruiter with the U.S. Marines in Minnesota, says the Marines’ Bloomington recruiting station got a boost during the early 2000s when a Somali recruiter worked there. Over the years, the station has seen three to five Somali Americans join an annual crop of as many as 90 recruits. Allen says the ASVAB, the test all branches administer, trips up many inner-city students.

Mohamud passed the test, but last spring brought setbacks. He ended his senior year short on credits. As his cousin left for Air Force training, he headed to summer school, his own 10-week basic training on hold.

Demoralized, he thought about scrapping the Guard idea. But, say Guard leaders, they stuck with him and he persevered, showing up for monthly drills in preparation for basic training. Now, the soft-spoken Mohamud offers pointers on perfect marching form to newer recruits.

At South St. Paul High School this fall, Mohamud says the prospect of training slated for spring has made him more determined to graduate. One recent Saturday, Mohamud’s mother woke him early to make sure he made it to his drill.

Getting the word out

Some community leaders predict more young Somalis are poised to enlist. They point to the growing number of Somali police officers, who have bucked a legacy of mistrusting law enforcement.

Ali, the Somali community leader, became interested in the Guard as he watched his son struggle during his high school senior year. He imagined the teen coming out of Guard training with a new focus and discipline. Then, he pictured photos he had seen of Guard members responding to flooding on the Mississippi River — only featuring Somali Americans, “a beautiful public relations initiative for the community.”

Ali recently met with Guard Chaplain Buddy Winn and offered his help raising community awareness.

The Somali American Parent Association will include an hour on military service in new parent training in January. The Somali youth group Ka Joog, which invited the Guard to the Independence Day event, plans to kick off its eighth-anniversary celebration with recognition of Somalis who have enlisted.

“This is our home, and protecting our home from all evils of life is our No. 1 goal,” said Ka Joog’s Mohamed Farah, who sees service in the U.S. military as an antidote to radical recruitment by the likes of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

Somali veterans like Minneapolis entrepreneur Gandi Mohamed are pitching in, too. When Somali parents ask him for the key to his success, he points to his four years in the Air Force in the early 2000s. During his time on base in San Antonio, he got a bachelor’s degree in accounting and management. His deployment with a civil engineering squadron in Oman was difficult and isolating, but it also gave him a head start on his career and a can-do attitude.

The Guard has welcomed the interest. Mack, the recruiting office supervisor in the 133rd Airlift Wing of the Air Guard, recently e-mailed Ka Joog to repeat an earlier offer: Let Air Guard members volunteer in the Somali community, say, by building a playground. Guard recruiters see the outreach to the Somali community as part of a wider effort to make membership more diverse.

Miski Abdulle tried hard to dissuade her son Mohamed Yusuf from enlisting in the Marines in 2009.

“I was so afraid for him, being an immigrant kid who is Muslim,” Abdulle explained.

Today, Abdulle tells proudly of her son’s service. A winner of a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, he was a radio operator aboard a naval ship that took him across the Middle East and East Asia.

Recently, a neighbor who had questioned his decision to enlist asked Yusuf to persuade her son to join. Yusuf reflected. “There are serious sacrifices you have to make,” he told his mother. “For me it worked, but it’s not for everyone.”

Dur-Dur Band chooses Mpls. for first gig in 20 years | Minnesota Public Radio News

Dur-Dur Band chooses Mpls. for first gig in 20 years | Minnesota Public Radio News

When Somalia collapsed into a civil war more than two decades ago, the nation's cultural community suffered.
For Somalis, a big blow came when the Dur-Dur Band, the country's preeminent party band of the 1980s, dissolved. Since then, its members have been separated far from their homeland.
Tonight, members of the popular musical group will take the stage for the first time in two decades in a show at the Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis. It's a reunion many Somalis dreamed would happen, but never believed possible.
When they heard that Dur-Dur Band was reuniting, Twin Cities Somalis bombarded Fadumo Ibrahim with questions about the show, incredulous that it could take place.
"Dur-Dur Band?!" they asked. "Are you SURE?"
Ibrahim and her coworkers were just as excited by their booking accomplishment as Somali music fans.
"We're like, 'Please, please, pinch me. Is this really happening?'" she said. "And it is happening."
The band has been rehearsing for the last week at the Cedar, the Somali-born musicians' first practices after a 20-year hiatus.
In pre-war Somalia, Dur-Dur Band was one of the most popular groups.
"Very, very, very famous," Ibrahim said.
Not long after its launch in 1981, the group was playing the biggest hotels in Mogadishu.
"There were other bands that were connected to the government to send the message the government is telling them. And then the government pays them," Ibrahim said. "But Dur-Dur Band was a private, organized band and their whole message at that time was to entertain people."
In the 1980s, the band released 12 albums and packed dance floors. But the group's musical momentum came to an abrupt halt when violence took over the capital, lead vocalist Abdinuur Daljir said.
"When the war just started, we decided we all should get out right now because it doesn't seem that something good is going to come out of this," he said.
In 1992, the members of Dur-Dur Band fled to Ethiopia. They spent 12 years there, waiting for refugee visas and playing music whenever they could. One by one, they were resettled abroad. Some landed in the United States and Canada, others in the United Kingdom.
Daljir went to Columbus, Ohio, where he still lives today.
"I felt really sad that we all had to go [to] different parts of the world," said Daljir, 42. "But at the same time, we always had hopes that one day we will find each other."
Reunion 
Members of Dur-Dur Band play together for the first time in two decades. 
And they did, though a grant-funded project called Midnimo, the Somali word for "unity." It brings Somali musicians from around the world to Minnesota to promote understanding of Somali-Muslim culture.
At an afternoon practice at the Cedar Cultural, drummer Harbi, 50, can't help but think of when the band played late-nights gigs at sweltering Mogadishu clubs, even though he's rehearsing in a winter hat and pair of mukluks.
"And I say, 'Wow. This is something I could never imagine happening,'" Harbi said. "And I'm so glad this is happening right now."
While the band rehearses, 25-year-old Ibrahim dances in the back of the room, just like her parents did in Somali clubs when they were her age.
"This is crazy, funky disco!" she exclaimed with a laugh. "When it comes to the greater community, the non-Somalis, I want them to say, 'Whoa! In the '80s, this was their music? The Somali community? You guys rock!'
"I want people walking out of that door saying, 'Dur-Dur Band rocked the '80s and they still rock today.' That is my hope."