April 9, 2008 Special Dispatch No. 1838

Growing Rift between Somalia's Major Jihad Groups – Shabab Al-Mujahideen and Islamic Courts Union

April 9, 2008
Somalia, Africa | Special Dispatch No. 1838

A GIMF communiqué posted January 1, 2008 on the Islamist website (hosted by in Malaysia[1] ) reveals a rift between Somalia's two major jihad groups.

The communiqué, signed by Abu Mansour Al-Amriki - an American who provides military training for mujahideen in Somalia - states that Harakat Shabab Al-Mujahideen (the Movement of Jihadi Youth - MJY), which is currently the most active jihad group in Somalia, has severed ties with the Islamic Courts Union (ICU).

The two groups had initially joined forces to fight Ethiopian troops in Mogadishu, but later fell into a dispute over the September 2007 Asmara Conference, a summit under the aegis of the Eritrean government that was aimed at reconciling the various Somali opposition groups. While the ICU participated in the conference, the MJY boycotted it, saying that it was "doomed to fail" because it brought together "desperate [elements] with conflicting agendas" - that is, Islamists and secular nationalists - and that it promoted a "new and counterproductive culture and [Western] concepts like moderate[ness], retreat, compromise." [2]

In the communiqué, Abu Mansour accuses the ICU of favoring nationally based alliances with Somali secularists over partnership with devout Muslims, and of focusing on limited national interests while betraying the greater Islamic causes, such as the establishment of the global Caliphate. He further accuses the ICU of restricting the action of the muhajiroon (i.e. the non-Somali mujahideen) who come to assist the Somalis in their jihad against the Ethiopian forces in Mogadishu, and of attempting to direct the jihad in Somalia from posh hotels in Eritrea. Finally, Abu Mansour announces that the MJY remains loyal to the ideology of Osama bin Laden, Ayman Al-Zawahiri and Abu Mus'ab Al-Zarqawi, and that it aspires to establish a global Islamic Caliphate.

The following are excerpts from the communiqué: [3]

The MJY Aims to Establish a Global Islamic Caliphate

"I deem it highly important... to clarify some issues which may be unclear to most people... particularly those pertaining to the [relations between the] Movement of Jihadi Youth [MJY] and the Islamic Courts Union [ICU]... While the ICU's goals are confined to the [geographical] borders imposed by the tyrants [i.e. to Somalia], the MJY strives towards a global goal that includes the establishment of a worldwide Islamic Caliphate stretching from East to West. The rift [between the ICU and the MJY]... has grown wider and has become clearer to everyone, even to the stupid infidels."

The ICU Turns Its Back on the Foreign Mujahideen

"The MJY... has suffered greatly from the ICU's policies... For example, ICU [members] have received the foreign mujahideen at the airport with repulsive calls [like] 'we have no need for the immigrants (muhajiroon).' [They even] tried to send them back [to their countries of origin,] but members of the MJY [intervened and prevented this]..."

Eritrea Will Never Protect the Interests of Jihad

"The Asmara conference... caused us to doubt [the ICU] for several reasons. First, Eritrea, [which hosted the conference], has never stopped fighting the mujahideen on its own soil, so how will it help the mujahdeen in a neighboring country? Clearly, they will not protect our interests or the interests of jihad.

"Second, Eritrea... has [incorporated the mujahideen] in the political [system] in order [to encourage them] to abandon the armed resistance, which is the only real solution for the problems of the [Islamic] nation today. As a matter of fact, some members of the ICU are now sitting in the land of the infidels [i.e. in Eritrea, and participating] in politics - a course that leads to the very loss and destruction from which they had [originally] escaped.

"Third... the very name of their party implies that [they view their] problem as a strictly Somali one [rather than an Islamic one]..."

We Adhere to the Pure Ideology of Bin Laden, Al-Zawahiri and Al-Zarqawi

"Therefore, if the MJY does not denounce the Asmara Conference [that took place in September 2007], various problems may arise. [For example, we will] fail to set a clear example [to the mujahideen]... and, after [the Islamists] come to power, the Somalis will have grounds to doubt [our integrity].

"If the MJY announces its dispute with the ICU [only after] the victory [over the Ethiopians], people may view us as khawarij[4]... or suspect us of having ulterior motives... [In order to avoid this,] the MJY hereby declares that it denounces the Asmara Conference... and that the muhajiroon, along with the MJY, have washed their hands of the ICU.

"As for the MJY's ideology - we adhere to the pure ideology of the mujahideen on the other jihad [fronts], as we have often heard it [expounded] by Osama bin Laden... Ayman Al-Zawahiri... and Abu Mus'ab Al-Zarqawi... We stress that we strive to establish an Islamic Caliphate stretching from East to West. [This shall be achieved] after we expel the [Ethiopian] occupier and kill the apostates. We will [strive towards this goal] while adhering to the Koran, to the Sunna and to the Salafi creed, with the Koran in one hand and the sword in the other..."

[1] Verified February 11, 2008.



[4] The Khawarij were a group that separated from the forces of Fourth Caliph 'Ali Ibn Abi-Talib during the battle of Siffin in 657 B.C.E., and they are considered the first Muslim opposition within Islam. Hence, this term is used as a derogatory label for a secessionist group.

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