August 4, 2020 Special Dispatch No. 8879

Al-Shabab Video Provides Historical Narrative On Christian Ethiopians' 'Animosity' To Muslims, Claiming They Want To Conquer And Annex Somalia

August 4, 2020
Special Dispatch No. 8879

The following report is now a complimentary offering from MEMRI's Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor (JTTM). For JTTM subscription information, click here.

On August 2, 2020, Al-Kataib, a media foundation associated with the Al-Shabab Movement, released the first part of the third installment of its video series "They Are Not Welcome, They Shall Burn In The Fire." The new video, which coincided with Eid Al-Adha and was released in Arabic, Somali, and English, suggests  that Ethiopia is seeking to conquer Somalia and subdue it.[1]

The video opens with a Quran verse that reads: "And never will the Jews or the Christians approve of you until you follow their religion. Say: "Indeed, the guidance of Allah is the [only] guidance." If you were to follow their desires after what has come to you of knowledge, you would have against Allah no protector or helper."

A narrator gives a lengthy historical review of the enmity between Ethiopia and Somalia, which is framed as part of a global anti-Islam crusade waged by the "Christian West." Clips portraying a battle with swords between crusaders and Muslims are played as the narrator points out that such battles have been going on "since the reign of the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon Him) and His Rightly Guided Caliphs until the first crusade in the 5th century Hijri [11th century] to the present day... And  will only culminate with the end of time." A timeline of historical battles that took place between Crusaders and Muslim then follows while the narrator claims that in the middle of these campaigns, "the Crusaders committed the most horrendous of crimes as they killed, displaced, and tortured unarmed Muslims," saying that "in his testimony, the crusader priest Raymond [of Aguilers] described the heinous massacres committed by the Crusaders during their invasion of Jerusalem on Ramadhan 493 Hijri [1099] when he said: Our people were so excessive and wanton in their spilling of blood at the Temple of Solomon [i.e., Masjid Al-Aqsa] that corpses were floating in the mosque's courthouse."

An audio clip follows of Sheikh Abdullah Azzam weighing in on "the war waged by the Western world against Islam in the name of the Cross," saying that "the crusades, and the crimes they committed against the Muslims; and the way corpses were scattered across and around Masjid Al-Aqsa and the way they brag about their actions; all this shows their deep animosity and the continuous battle between the people of the book [Jews and Christians] and the Muslims."

In the same context, an audio by Ayman Al-Zawahiri plays, in which he says: "We will never forget, and the generations after us will never forget that Napoleon stood at the walls of Acre and from there made his famous call for the Jews to return to Palestine. We will never forget, and the generations after us will never forget that on 2 November 1917, the British Foreign Secretary, Balfour, announced his famous declaration of British support for the establishment of a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine. Nearly one month later, on 9 December 1917, Allenby, the fanatical protestant and leader of the Allied forces in their campaign against Palestine said when he entered Jerusalem, 'Only now have the Crusades ended.'"

The narrator recalls the French occupation of Damascus in 1920, saying that French General Henri Gouraud marched to the tomb of Salahuddin, where he said: "Here we are, oh Salahuddin. We have returned."

He further claims that in the Islamic Maghreb, "the Crusaders laid siege to the city of Marrakesh, citing the former French Foreign Minister, Christian Pineau, as saying: "It is a battle between the Crescent and the Cross."

In his lengthy assessment of the history between the Crusaders and Muslims, the narrator gives several examples from different time periods and citing army commanders and Western officials, including Serbian "leader of the Crusaders" General Ratko Mladić ordering his soldiers to attack Muslims in Bosnia in 1995.

The video also cites then President George W. Bush saying, "this Crusade, this war on terrorism, is going to take a while."

In an audio clip, late Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden says: "It is a recurrent crusade war, just like the previous wars; Richard the Lionheart, Barbarossa from Germany, and Louis of France; similarly today, the Crusader nations have once again scrambled after George W. Bush raised the Christian Cross."

To support the narrator's claim about the strong "collaboration" between the Jews, the West, and the Crusaders against the Muslims, the video shows clips from Vatican Pope Francis when he was received by former Israeli President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as well Western leaders including former U.S. President Barack Obama, U.S. President Donald Trump, and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Egyptian scholar and author Sheikh Muhammad Qutb says in an audio recording that "Europe is irreligious but it hates Muslims. Go and see for yourselves so you may know that the spirit of the Crusades is still alive, and that Europe forgot its religion, in fact, it has abandoned it, but it has never abandoned or forgotten the spirit of the Crusades."

A clip showing British Prime Minister Boris Johnson receiving Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and showing him the desk where the Balfour declaration was composed then follows before the video moves into another clip showing the former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn saying: "We should not fear what our country was built upon. Our country was built upon the foundations of Judeo-Christian principles, values, norms... and we should fight this idea, of this imposition of Shariah law into our system, and believe me folks it is happening. We are facing another '-ism' just like we faced Nazism, fascism, imperialism and communism. This is Islamism, and it is a vicious cancer inside the body of 1.7 billion people on this planet and it has to be excised."

The video continues by highlighting international leaders vowing to combat "radical Islam," showing President Trump during a speech during the 2016 presidential campaign, saying that he is a proud Christian, and as president, he will not allow "Christianity to be consistently attacked and weakened." The video shows French President Emmanuel Macron saying that ensuring the security of French citizens makes countering Islamic terrorism a first priority in his foreign policy.

At this point the narrator moves on to discuss the situation in Somalia, highlighting the how Ethiopia falls within the Crusaders' campaign against Islam. He says: "And although the disbelievers are united in their hatred towards Islam, they vary greatly in the degree of their animosity. And from amongst the most hate-filled and vicious of Crusader nations is the archenemy of Islam and the envious neighbour, the flag-bearer of Christendom in Africa: the Christian nation of Ethiopia."

After citing an audio clip by the late Egyptian author Sayyid Qutb, a leading figure in the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt whose writings influenced the development of radical Islam, in which he highlights "the enmity of the Christians towards this religion [i.e., Islam] and the Muslims of the world," the video shows late Al-Shabab commander Adam Hashi Ayrow speaking in Somali. The video gives English subtitles. Ayrow says: "People think that the animosity of Ethiopia toward Muslims is merely restricted to the historical conflict with Somalia. However, this is not the case. The Christians of Ethiopia are the ones who were led by Abraha to destroy the Ka'bah. They did not stop at that, but the Messenger of Allah told us that the Ka'bah will eventually be destroyed by Dhus-Suwaiqatain [literally: One with two thin legs] from Abyssinia and that this man will destroy the Ka'bah, stone by stone. Therefore, the animosity of the Abyssinian Crusaders is deep-rooted and not confined to the regional conflict between Somalia and Ethiopia."

The narrator claims that Northern Ethiopia was a stronghold of Christianity throughout history and its churches in the highlands of the Amhara and Tigray regions served as the base of Christendom because of their "intense religious bigotry and fierce opposition toward Muslims throughout the ages."

To support this claim, the video highlights an excerpt written by "Muslim historian Taqiy-ud-Diin Al-Maqrizi" who said that "the Abyssinians are a people who have adhered to Christianity since antiquity and they are Jacobite by denomination. They are also staunch followers of their religion and they show enmity to anyone who differs with them from the other religions."

The video cites the official Spokesman for the Council of Tribal Representatives of Somalia Isma'il Harun as saying: "Ethiopia was always from amongst the vanguard nations of Christendom."

Another clip shows Somali sheikh Hassan Ya'qub saying that "Islam reached the Horn of Africa after the first Hijri century, the Muslims established Islamic emirates whose goal was to unite the people upon the Book of Allah and confront the Abyssinian attacks."

The Somali narrator returns to highlight the history of Islam in the Horn of Africa, saying that nine Islamic emirates were established and among them were the Sultanate of Shewa, the Adal Sultanate, and the Sultanate of Harar, noting that the Islamic emirates "were collectively known as the Islamic Kingdoms of Zeila."

An audio clip by Al-Zawahiri is introduced once more to emphasize Islam's roots in this part of the world. "The East African coast became separate from Abyssinia both ideologically and politically. The Muslim population of East Africa, including the Muslim Abyssinians, submitted to the successive Islamic Caliphates. And throughout the centuries, fierce wars took place between Islam and Christianity, particularly the Abyssinian church. Islam, however, continued to spread until the majority of the population in East Africa became Muslims and most of the Ethiopian population embraced Islam. In fact, 60% of the population in modern-day Ethiopia are Muslims," he says.

The video shows the official Spokesman for the Council of Tribal Representatives of Somalia Isma'il Harun explaining that the spread of Islam in East Africa and the Somali regions had made Ethiopian Christians "hostile towards Muslims." The video shows several Muslim tribal figures, clerics, Al-Shabab commanders, and historians providing various historical examples on the war launched by Muslim leaders to combat the "hostility" of Ethiopian Christians, acknowledging that Muslims suffered bitter defeats in some battles but won some others.

The narrator explains that as Muslim rule in the horn of Africa began to decline gradually, "the hidden sentiments of animosity began to rekindle in the hearts of Christians so that they could take vengeance on the Muslims and inflict upon them a great torment."

"After the colonial Western invasion of East Africa in the middle of the 13th century Hijri [i.e., the 19th century], the Abyssinian Crusaders finally had the opportunity to fulfil that which they yearned for so long and embarked on a campaign of systematic killings against the weak Muslims in the region," says the narrator, citing several campaigns referred to by Muslim and British historians such as Thomas Walker Arnold.

According to the narrator, In 1948, "the last Abyssinian Emperor Haile Selassie, with the help of the United Nations and Great Britain, officially annexed western Somalia and continued implementing the policies of his ancestors and carried out systematic oppression, cruelty and aggression against the weak Muslims."

The narrator says that with the abolition of the Abyssinian monarchy and the establishment of modern-day Ethiopia, the Christians tightened their grip on the occupied Muslim lands of western Somalia and subjected people to all types of torture, persecution, and humiliation under the communist junta of Mengistu Haile Mariam.

Addressing another historical period, the narrator moves on to the events that followed the "the fall of Muhammad Siyad Barre's regime and the outbreak of civil war in Somalia, which paved the way for the Christians of Ethiopia to implement their sinister plots and attempt to fully conquer the Muslims of Somalia, break their willpower and force them to abandon their principles and creed."

"From covert interventions to the blatant occupation of Somalia in 1417 Hijri [i.e., 1996] until the present day, the Crusaders have not reserved any effort in their aspiration to enslave the Muslims and occupy their lands, all the while chasing after the mirage of false slogans and the distant hope of expanding the Christian Abyssinian kingdom, from the highlands of Amhara and Tigray to the Indian Ocean," he says.

The video then shows Spokesman for the Council of Tribal Representatives in the Islamic Wilaayah of Gedo Abdullah Hussein Al-Ansari saying that the "Christian atrocities against Muslims will remain forever etched into the hearts of the Muslims of Somalia and recorded in the pages of history for the coming generations of Muslims."

Speaking on the current situation in Mogadishu, Al-Shabab Commander Adam Hashi Ayrow says there is genocide taking place in Mogadishu. "As hundreds of people are being killed for nothing else other than saying that Allah is our Lord... They are being killed for declaring to be Muslim slaves of Allah. They have not committed any other crime. They did not attack Ethiopia or America; rather they are being killed in Mogadishu's neighbourhoods such as Black Sea, Bar Ubah, the Pasta Factory, and Gubta."

The video then shows a woman saying: "The Ethiopians targeted me while I was in my house and among my children. They killed my brother and my son and they have injured me. They invaded our country and attacked our religion. May Allah destroy them. We are not content with them and do not want them. May Allah relieve them of us."

In an audio recording, Sheikh Mukhtar Abu Zubeyr aka Ahmed Abdi Godane, late leader of Al-Shabab who was killed in a 2014 drone strike, says: "If we mention something about the Ethiopian Christians who have invaded our land, then their enmity is more deep-rooted. While they share the enmity with other Christians, they have greater religious malice and ethnic hatred of Muslims in the Somali region because of their greed and desire to take over the land and wealth of the Muslims of this region, particularly the coast. This is an issue that has existed for a long time."

The video shows a clip of late Sheikh Muhammad Rashaad, who discussed in a 1997 lecture the implications of the UN intervention in Somalia and the rest of the region. Rashaad says: "After the failure of the UN resolution, it has been determined to deal with Somalia in two stages. The first is to prevent the people of religion from rising to dominance and to destroy the Islamic outlook. ... The second stage is to divide the land of Somalia into different regions and states and not to make it initially a part of Ethiopia. Each region or state is governed by an irreligious tribal leader. The Somali leaders in those regions who are known as warlords have all been convinced not to oppose living under Ethiopian control. In order to prove that, they have to be regularly summoned to meetings in Addis Ababa where they are administered and directed by low-ranking Ethiopian officials. Somali is currently in that stage. The next stage after that is to bring all of Somalia officially under Ethiopian rule whereby Somali regions become part of the regions of Ethiopia."

A clip shows Sheikh Ali Mohamud Raage saying that "Ethiopia has made its intentions clear that it seeks to annex the land and sea of Somalia in accordance with an ancient policy that dates back more than 700 years. This is not something I am concocting, but rather it is a well-documented fact that both Muslims and disbelievers acknowledge."

The video emphasizes the long-term interests of the Ethiopian government, showing a clip of Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed saying in a speech: "You must overlook these lowly ambitions and broaden your horizon. When we conquer Mogadishu, we want you to work there during the week and return here to your homes for the weekend. This is our ambition, but you are thinking in a short-sighted way."

[1], August 2, 2020.



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