Friday January 27, 2023
Mogadishu (HOL) - Somalia's Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre made the closing remarks at a conference for religious scholars in Mogadishu on Thursday.
The three-day conference
concluded with the clerics agreeing that Al Shabaab, the militant group waging a deadly insurgency against the Somali government for over a decade, do not have any religious legitimacy and has labelled them as Khawarij.
The religious scholars roundly condemned Al Shabaab as the "enemies of Islam and the Somali people," according to a press release, and declared that fighting them was a "righteous jihad."
Daesh - or ISIS - was also denounced as a deviant 'Khawarij' sect.
"The Conference of Somali Scholars unanimously tells the Somali community that Al-Shabaab and Daesh are Khawarij criminals whose blood is lawful to spill (hadur), and we all have a duty to fight them; Anyone who fights or dies in the war against the Khawarij is a martyr who is expected to be among the people that our Messenger, may his mercy and peace be upon him, said that will be in Paradise."
Somali government forces and local anti-Shabaab clan militias launched a military campaign to remove Al Shabaab from central Somalia in the Summer of 2022. The operations have increased pressure on al Shabaab by capturing district capitals that al Shabaab has used for logistics and finances.
Somali military officials have begun mobilizing for the second phase
of the offensive, targeting the militants in the southwest, where the group controls several towns and villages.
The scholars also decreed that it is prohibited to interact with the 'Khawarij sect' in any form, including transacting in business, offering charity, and seeking justice from their court.
"The conference proves to the Somali nation that the war against the Khawarij is a jihad to defend the major pillars of the Islamic Sharia: religion, life, property, intelligence, and the dignity of humanity," said the statement.
The Islamic convention was aimed at shoring up cooperation between Somalia's government and the religious community.
President Mohamud hosted a dinner for the scholars on Thursday evening after the conference.
President Mohamud thanked the religious community for unanimously condemning Al Shabaa and other extremist groups.