Somali sheikhs vow to combat extremism after cleric assassinated while praying

By Hassan Muse Hussein in Garowe and Barkhad Dahir in Hargeisa

February 19, 2013

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Somali leaders and citizens expressed shock and condemnation after a young man shot Sheikh Abdulkadir Nur Farah inside Badar Mosque in Garowe during Asr prayer last Friday (February 15th).

  • Leaders from the al-Itisaam Islamic Council speak to reporters at East Africa University in Garowe on February 19th. The leaders said they would engage the Somali ulama and citizens to stand united against violence and extremist ideology. [Hassan Muse Hussein/Sabahi]

    Leaders from the al-Itisaam Islamic Council speak to reporters at East Africa University in Garowe on February 19th. The leaders said they would engage the Somali ulama and citizens to stand united against violence and extremist ideology. [Hassan Muse Hussein/Sabahi]

  • Sheikh Abdulkadir Nur Farah was buried in the northern graveyard of Garowe on Saturday (February 16th). [Hassan Muse Hussein/Sabahi]

    Sheikh Abdulkadir Nur Farah was buried in the northern graveyard of Garowe on Saturday (February 16th). [Hassan Muse Hussein/Sabahi]

  • Hundreds of citizens attended the funeral to mourn the assassination of Sheikh Abdulkadir Nur Farah. [Hassan Muse Hussein/Sabahi]

    Hundreds of citizens attended the funeral to mourn the assassination of Sheikh Abdulkadir Nur Farah. [Hassan Muse Hussein/Sabahi]

Farah was shot in the back as he was kneeling to pray.

Hours later, Puntland regional President Abdirahman Mohamed Farole publicly blamed al-Shabaab for the assassination of the prominent Somali sheikh, announcing the capture of Abdirahman Hussein Jama Bile in connection with the murder.

On Saturday, Somaliland police apprehended two more suspects in Las Anod believed to have been involved in the assassination.

"One of the two men we have in our custody is believed to be directly involved in last week's murder of the late Sheikh Abdulkadir Nur Farah, while his accomplice had facilitated his escape," Abdullahi Said Guleid, deputy commander of police in Sool, told Dawan newspaper.

He said the suspects were arrested as they drove into the city, approximately 150 kilometres west of Garowe. The men have been transferred to Hargeisa and are under investigation, Guleid said.

A solution to extremism

Religious leaders across Somalia condemned the killing and urged citizens to find a solution to extremism.

"We condemn the killing," said Sheikh Mubarak Haji Nur of Buro in Somaliland. "It is against principles of Islam and [Somali] culture."

Nur also called for Somali and Muslim religious leaders to stand together against those who spill innocent blood.

Sheikh Ahmed Abdisamad, a cleric in Puntland and head of the executive committee of the al-Itisaam Council, a religious group that has vowed to fight the spread of al-Shabaab's ideology, announced Tuesday (February 19th) that he and other religious leaders are organising a major conference in the coming days to conduct a study to better understand the causes that lead to extremism in Somalia and to provide religion-based solutions that will be shared with the public.

Farole and Somali Minister of Interior Affairs Mohamed Mohamud Guled said they welcomed and would give their complete support to the sheikhs' conference.

Abdisamad also praised the Somaliland authorities for apprehending the suspects right away. He urged regional administrations across Somalia to engage citizens to be more effective against al-Shabaab.

To fight extremism effectively and find comprehensive solutions, Somali communities must work together to address all underlying issues, he said. When disagreements or problems arise, people should turn to established intellectual and political leadership.

"Our tribes, clerics, provinces, business people, soldiers and all sections of the public must come together for the same purpose," he told Sabahi.

Sheikh Abdinasir Haji Ahmed of Las Anod also blamed al-Shabaab for the murder. "The sheikh was killed by monsters in al-Shabaab, particularly the Amniyad faction that is characterised as outcasts that kill Muslims."

Farah laid to rest

Farah was buried in the northern graveyard of Garowe on Saturday, attended by clerics from across Somalia, citizens, and representatives from the Somali government and the Puntland administration.

Before his death, Farah had vehemently expressed his disapproval of al-Shabaab, and was part of the al-Itisaam Council.

"They call themselves the youth of jihad, but their jihad is aimed at Muslims," Farah said in a sermon at al-Rawda Mosque on January 5th. "They have killed off many Muslims, and you all know that hundreds of Muslims die in the explosions. How many have died in Bosaso, Garowe and Galkayo while entering or leaving the mosque? … This is their version of jihad."

Farah also spoke at the funeral of Sheikh Ahmed Abdirahman, who was killed in December 2011 in Bosaso as he was leaving al-Rawda Mosque after the morning prayer. Farah blamed Abdirahman's death on al-Shabaab.

The International Union of Muslim Scholars on Sunday mourned Farah and condemned his assassination.

"The Union calls on the Somali people to unite against extremists to preserve members of Somali society and preserve the lives of scholars and competent nationals," the organisation said in a statement signed by Chairman Yusuf al-Qaradawi and Secretary General Ali al-Qaradaghi.

Dahir Hassan, a 25-year-old Islamic studies student at East African University in Bosaso, said this was the first time he heard of someone killed while praying. "It used to surprise us to learn that someone was killed after leaving the mosque," he told Sabahi.

Hassan said he watched a Youtube video showing Bile's arrest and called him "a young, misguided youth".

"The people being killed off are our clerics, our source of knowledge," Hassan said, adding that the Puntland administration should assign armed guards to clerics. "[Al-Shabaab] wants to eliminate this nation's strength and its scholars, which will lead our country to a future without intellectual leaders."

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Reader's Comments

  • Masud
    September 2, 2014 @ 02:21:20PM

    Somalia's problem is not al-Shabaab but America, which is Muslim's enemy.

  • mohamed
    May 8, 2013 @ 02:27:08PM

    It is not good for the regional leaders to compete with the government as this will show lack of governance.

  • maxamed maxamuu xusseen
    May 5, 2013 @ 02:26:42PM

    I very much want Al-Shabaab to be eliminated. Peace on you.

  • khaalid maxamed yuusuf
    April 27, 2013 @ 04:10:09AM

    condolences . We come from God and unto Him we return. May God have mercy on him. Our responsibility is to ask God to have mercy on him, God willing and befriend him the prophet (Peace be upon him) in the paradise.

  • Mohammed Hajji
    April 26, 2013 @ 05:57:18AM

    Where should I fill because I am now new to the site? May God have mercy on the cleric.

  • mahamed qorah
    April 21, 2013 @ 07:34:24AM

    May God have mercy on the clerics and punish those who kill them.

  • hashim
    April 19, 2013 @ 11:09:35AM

    By God, it is not good to judge people or assume things. There is no need to get angry; for these are our brothers. All of us Muslims must remember, "To God we belong and to Him shall we return."

  • cumar
    April 14, 2013 @ 05:52:37AM

    May God have mercy on him, Amen.

    April 14, 2013 @ 02:41:52AM

    I can confidently say that Somalia has been destroyed and confused by the conflict, and here I have not separated it in any way as Somalia or Somali land.

  • shamsudiin al haji
    April 12, 2013 @ 08:30:07AM

    ,,,,,Al I'tisam are reaping what they sowed,,,, Al Shabaab are a lost cause, but what amazed everyone are the clerics of Al I'tisam for they were the same people who never rebuked Al Shabaab for doing exactly what they are rebuking now. Itihad Al I'tisam are responsible for all what Al Shabaab did as the adult clerics were quite when the youthful Al Shabaab were causing havoc. I would say now you are reaping what you sowed. ,,,God Almighty always punishes anyone who had ill intent in the past

  • dhanto
    April 11, 2013 @ 02:40:26AM

    Truly, what you talk about does not exist, so come with existing ones. Okay bye.

  • ismaaciil mahamed osman
    April 10, 2013 @ 11:11:11AM

    The killing of Muslims is a seriously threatening issue but it is not judicious for someone calling himself a Muslim, to kill the Muslim scholars and at the same time boast about it.

  • maxamad axmad
    April 10, 2013 @ 05:23:38AM

    May God have mercy on Sheikh Abdulkadir and punish those who killed him. May God have mercy on Sheikh Abdulkadir. He was truly a great man of God.

  • kinuthia
    April 9, 2013 @ 03:44:20AM

    killings have been going on every day and no body condems it until a cleric is killed.

  • ali axmed
    April 8, 2013 @ 02:55:10AM

    Truthfully, this comment and all others similar to it is what anyone with faith feels to be real or to put in other words, what happens nowadays is distasteful and being propagated by misled people. What amazes me is what will these people respond to when tomorrow the almighty God holds them accountable?

  • bashiro
    April 7, 2013 @ 04:57:36PM

    Al Shabaab want to kill all the people who are skilled and knowledgeable so that they can only remain with an ignorant and illiterate population. They also work with the Americans to this end so that our beloved religion of Islam is distorted and all Muslims convert to be disbelievers and it is the same with Al Qaeda which is an excuse to kill Muslims and they are succeeding'

  • tToo
    April 7, 2013 @ 05:15:52AM

    Tat was well n mature coment .we r in solidarity with group of lmmam. Surely lslam is peace n total sbmission allah, its sin to kill a fellow muslim.we codemm the kiling allah punish in barzaq

  • hinda farhaan
    April 4, 2013 @ 12:58:01PM

    May God have mercy on the cleric and punish the perpetrators.

  • rahma
    April 4, 2013 @ 02:24:02AM

    I am saddened by the death of Fatah Sheridan. Justice should prevail.

  • bashiir
    April 3, 2013 @ 04:18:35PM

    I am very sad about the ruthless killing of the cleric and I pray to God to reward him with paradise.

  • muzzamil
    April 1, 2013 @ 03:12:14PM

    I am Muzzamil Abdi Mohamed Abasheikh. I truly liked this website and give much interest to it. So I want to be welcomed. Thank you all.

  • faarax xassan
    March 30, 2013 @ 03:26:05AM

    I want to see all the Somali clerics and their message.

  • Hussein dida
    March 29, 2013 @ 11:07:19AM

    SOMALIA, being blessed as an habitat for muslims the ISLAMIC SHARIAH has bn negleted n seems never to b recognised, as such ALmighty ALLAH gonna enclose us to linger n different types of severe penalty. SOLUTION, QURAN TO REMAIN AS OUR CONSTITUTION.

  • Mujahid
    March 27, 2013 @ 02:19:09PM

    Somalia, Somalia, Somalia! 99.99% of its population are Muslims, so why the bloodshed and tribalism, while we have our own pure and complete system of life i.e. Islamic Sharia? I am always optimistic that all the groups will unite under the banner of There is none worthy of worship except Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah and implement the sharia, God willing. I know that the infidels and hypocrites will never like it, but as promised by Allah the Almighty, { Fain would they put out the light of Allah with their mouths, but Allah will perfect His light however much the disbelievers are averse.}

  • aabifatah mohamed ahmed
    March 27, 2013 @ 01:42:01PM

    I am sad about the killing of the eyes of Somalia; the killing of the cleric. I am requesting from the government of Puntland to arrest those people who committed such crimes. Likewise, I want to tell the people of Somalia that they are not able to curb those disheartening problems that happens unless they give full support to the government.

  • cali
    March 24, 2013 @ 04:07:32AM

    May comment says the people, country and religion should be protected from Al-Shabaab.

  • Waliyullaah
    March 22, 2013 @ 06:20:47AM

    It is time people turned against the men killing clerics

  • suldaan fuaad
    March 21, 2013 @ 11:22:22AM

    Oh Almighty God, protect your people against the ones who play with your religion of Islam like the Al Shabaab

  • abdullahi shariif
    March 21, 2013 @ 05:31:55AM

    War will not be beneficial to us and Al-Shabaab's issue is not easy because we don't know who execute Al-Shabaab duties apart from its leaders. But Al-Shabaab is composed of misguided and we need to tell the Somali people that what Al-Shabaab tells us is not right.

  • hussein
    March 20, 2013 @ 03:00:08AM

    we condem that killing of sheikh and we as muslims should understand the true meaning of islam brotherhood and the power of our relihgion

  • jimcale
    March 17, 2013 @ 04:53:42PM

    Fight those people who kill innocent people and the minors.

  • Mudane
    March 17, 2013 @ 12:50:49PM

    We come from God and unto Him we return. I am sorry about the murder of the cleric. May God put those who killed the cleric in hell-fire both in this world and in hereafter. May God have mercy on Sheikh Abdukadir Nur Farah.

  • jamaac
    March 16, 2013 @ 02:26:14AM

    I strongly support the group that fights for truth and justice called 'Ahlu suna.'

  • daacad
    March 13, 2013 @ 05:11:01PM

    I swear that we describe those who assassinate clerics as non-Muslims and non-Mujahedeen but enemies of Allah and of religion. We do not welcome what Faroli said because he is one of the enemies of religion himself. I pray that Allah bestows mercy upon the soul of Sheikh Abdul Kader and sends him to paradise

  • rahmo
    March 13, 2013 @ 12:27:40PM

    We are from God and unto Him we return. I am sorry about the killing of cleric. May God put those who killed the cleric in hellfire in this world and in hereafter. May God rest sheikh NAbdulkadir Nuur Farah's soul in peace.

  • kayse jaamac qaalib
    March 13, 2013 @ 04:49:46AM

    When did the clerics start sporting such hairstyles? Oh Somali people, fear your God, for everything now has a fake copy. Drugs have fake copies, leaders have fake copies and now even clerics have fake copies.

    March 12, 2013 @ 02:40:04AM

    We belong to God The Almighty and to Him we shall return. O God! forgive him and have mercy upon his soul.

  • nuux jamaal axmed
    March 10, 2013 @ 12:12:46PM

    My brothers, I am sorry about what happened in Garowe Town. We also have brothers because there are many wrongs committed and we say may God eliminate Al-Shabaab for killing people. May God protect them from us.

  • mohamed
    March 8, 2013 @ 09:55:44AM

    Those hunting our clerics and elites are those who have no basis in Islam and are Takfiir (A sect in Islam). We can therefore fight them by uniting against them. May God protect us from them.

  • cadnaan
    March 6, 2013 @ 03:23:50PM

    I am sorry about the killing of Sheikh Abdikadir Nur Farah, may God lighten the grave for him.

  • Abdiqani
    March 6, 2013 @ 01:11:38PM

    Islam as a religion does not allow the killing of a Muslim or even a disbeliever who does not fight. There are honored times and places such as places of worshiping God where people cannot be killed. Killing of clerics did not start today. Explosions did not start today but the target to worship places is new. Clerics are also blamed for mistakes they committed against the religion, people and the country. The youth who kill the clerics who were their teachers are called I'TISAM. They are the ones who legalized holy war. They are the ones who used disbelievers and their sycophants. They are the ones who described anything they don't use as illegal. Those men called I'tisam are the remnants of Itihad who attacked Bosaso in 1992 in the name of holy war. They are the men who fought the former president of Somalia Abdullahi Yussuf. They are part of the Islamic court union just like Al-Shabaab. These men called I'tisam were in support of what Al-Shabaab was doing to the people before 2009. Are these clerics wrong today or they were wrong yesterday?These men use the religion to suit their interest and they only change the name when they fail. You are the ones causing problem to our country, people and the religion and you should accept your mistakes. Ask for forgiveness from the Somali people. May God rest the soul of the Sheikh who died in peace. He was opposed to the killing of Muslims and he never supported.

  • cumaari
    March 6, 2013 @ 12:37:40AM

    We are from God and unto Him we will return. May God rest the Sheikh in peace. It is not surprising for the defectors to kill anyone who is of importance to Somali community but any Somali person is expected to participate in the elimination of this disbelievers called Al-Shabaab in any way they can.

  • Ahlusuna
    March 3, 2013 @ 08:49:49AM

    May God bring Al-Shabaab and other problems to an end. Amen

  • ikram
    March 2, 2013 @ 12:46:59AM

    I am sending this message to the leaders of the men called Al-Shabaab. I want to say they are responsible for the killing of the Sheikh, they took the bloodshed prohibited by God as permissible and they shed blood for no reason. They kill the scholars and those who lead the society. Stop what you do, it is not religious and go back to learn the religion of Islam.

  • cumar faarax yalaxoow
    February 28, 2013 @ 06:05:41AM

    I am Omar, and would like to express my thoughts on the problems in the city of Mogadishu. I am 23 years old and have never seen an honest government like the one we have.

  • yasmin cisman j
    February 28, 2013 @ 03:50:30AM

    I am really saddened by the death of the Sheikh ;-=000

    February 27, 2013 @ 08:06:51AM

    Just remember that our father is adam so there is no need for us to kill each other since we are brothers and sisters,our difference is colour,sex,nation,tribe,height,language etc.The main reason for this is to know each other.Remember GOD is obversing everything happening in this world.

  • suheeylo
    February 26, 2013 @ 04:36:02AM

    I am very sad about the killing of the cleric and I condemn it. May God expand the grave for him? I am requesting for unity from all Somalis to stop these defectors. They kill clerics, scholars, journalists and the other citizens. Somalia is today facing what God has described in his books. There is this group that says it is fighting a holy war by killing Muslims in mosques yet claim they killed disbelievers and their sycophants. May God have mercy on our great Sheikh; Abdulkadir Nur Farah. Let's turn against Al-Shabaab. May God put Al-Shabaab and their followers in hell both in this world and in the hereafter.

  • mohamed
    February 26, 2013 @ 01:40:07AM

    May God wipe Al-Shabaab out of existence.

  • Saacid sudeysi
    February 25, 2013 @ 05:53:19PM

    No truth is found in this article because Farole was behind the killing of the cleric in order to make the citizens of Puntland hate Al-Shabaab. This is evident in the place I live where government soldiers cover their faces, kill people and claim it was Al-Shabaab who committed the killings and this makes people hate Al-Shabaab which will cause more fights and bloodshed in the region. The administrators of this website can contact me if they want commentaries.

  • mahanud farax ali
    February 25, 2013 @ 06:00:34AM

    We surely came from God and unto Him we return. The cleric was a holy war fighter but killed by those who killed the leaders of the believers like Uthman bin Afan bin Abii Taalib and the other leaders who came after him up to the reign of those who restored sanity in Islam like leader Malik bin Anas (the leader of the migrants). A question worth asking is; what is the difference between the defectors (Khawarij) who killed the leaders and this group? In my view they surely have no difference at all. Those ones used to kill Muslims and their relatives and this ones are just the same. Our prophet (Peace be upon him) said in his narrations that they fight other Muslims but run away from disbelievers.

  • suhayb
    February 23, 2013 @ 06:10:03AM

    Al-Shabaab has launched attacks against clerics. I think this clearly shows that they have no strength at all. They have been a misfortune to the world particularly the Muslim countries. They claim to fight disbelievers but where are the disbelievers?

  • Ahmed Abdi Hassan
    February 21, 2013 @ 07:53:24PM

    I am sad about the hunting of the clerics, philosophers and scholars of the Somali community. But the bad actions executed by the extremists can be curbed if the people of Somalia unite in the fight against extremism.

  • faysal Ismaciil barre
    February 21, 2013 @ 09:05:20AM

    Somalia generally needs to be liberated from Ethiopian, Israel, American and Kenya spies. Nothing will go right in our country unless that is done. By Feysal Ismail barre c/o Hargeysa Somalia.

  • zainabu Hassan
    February 21, 2013 @ 06:59:04AM

    I would like us human beings to live in love and peace without any kind of violence without discriminating against one another saying that this one is able while this one is not or this one is learned while this other one is not. Honestly that is not life because every human being has rights

  • Mahad foodey
    February 20, 2013 @ 12:53:12PM

    I did not yet understand those people who kill the eyes of the Somali community. Are they citizens or foreigners? And what is their motive?!!!.

  • Abu qudama
    February 20, 2013 @ 07:10:59AM

    The holy war fighters do not kill clerics but they kill anyone who support the disbelievers. A cleric is killed if he opposes the holy war fighters and that is legalized by the books, you have to know that. Anyone who tries to stop the holy war fighters will be eliminated. I would like to tell those clerics who oppose the holy war fighters to stop the meeting or else they will meet with misfortunes.

  • Cumar
    February 19, 2013 @ 08:01:27PM

    Peace on you. The Clerics wherever they live in Somalia were expected of this before but we are actually happy that they have now felt their responsibility. Put more effort and fight terrorists while using your religious knowledge and its take on those misguided ideologies believed in by the terrorists. Sensitize the people of Somalia so that they can be cautious of the terrorists and don't give them the opportunity to sail through them. Lack of/little knowledge about the religion by the people is actually a problem and can lead people to be given misguided by being told as it is from the religion. Prevent terrorism by giving lectures in the Islamic learning institutions (Madarasa), mosques, schools, universities and in all other public places. If you do this, then I am sure your message will reach many people and the problems of terrorism will be tackled well. Those people being used to kill the clerics are your children and your brothers but not people from the sky. I pray to God to help you arrest those people who cause problems by lying to children to kill the clerics.

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