Harakat al-Shabab al-Mujahidin

According to the website Somali War Report, yesterday for the first time Ḥarakat al-Shabāb al-Mujāhidīn officially acknowledged al-Qā’idah’s presence in Somalia when al-Shabāb’s spokesman Shaykh ‘Alī Moḥamūd Raage (Shaykh ‘Alī Dheere; pictured below on the left) and an American al-Qā’idah official that goes by Shaykh Abū ’Abdallah al-Muhājir (pictured below on the right) gave aid to Somalis. The below picture along with a second one were posted to the jihādī forums last night. AQ and Shabāb have a history of not showing the faces of individuals they are about to roll out as important figures. For instance, AQ did it with Adam Ghadan (Gadahn)Abū Talḥah al-’Almānī (Bekkay Harrach), while Shabāb did it with Omar Hammami (Abū Manṣūr al-Amrīkī). So are we about to see the emergence of a new important American AQ figure? Time will tell. It’s quite possible though that AQ is rolling this American out since Anwar al-’Awlaqī is now dead. And since they aren’t showing his face, it is to draw in curiosity of who this person is, which they probably believe will draw the MSM in. I just hope this isn’t another al-’Awlaqī episode waiting to happen where everyone overreacts and makes this individual larger than he is at this juncture.

Shaykh ‘Alī Moḥamūd Raage:

Praise be to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon on our prophet Mohammed and all his family and companions.

We thank Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He), who made Muslims one brotherhood (as) Allah says “verily believers are but one brotherhood”, for that reason, Whilst our brothers are at arms all over the world, especially those of the umbrella organisation which connects all mujahideen;-Al-Qaeda, whilst at arms, they have sent to their brothers in who reside Somalia, standing with them at this time of drought, and they previously spoke of aiding muslims (in Somalia), especially the Ameer (leader) of the Al-Qaeda Jihad Organisation Ayman Al-dhawahiri may Allah preserve him, and sufficiently before him our brother may Allah accept his martyrdom sheikh Usama Bin Laden , and today they make good upon that which they preached since it is also the conclusion of their drought campaign.

We welcome them (to their) afflicted brethren in this camp, we also after thanking Allah we thank our international brothers, especially our honourable leaders for the aid relief they sent to their Muslim brethren.

In front of you today, brought to fellow needy Muslims, is that which your Mujahideen brothers handed over to Harakat –al-shabaab Al-mujahideen who will be responsible for its distribution, and it includes , 2000 Hijabs for the purpose of sufficiently covering up to use for the performance of prayers, also 10,000 pieces of clothing for children, also enough flour,rice and coocking oil for 4,000 families, also 4,000KG of dates , 4,000 of tins of milk 900g each, and since we are of the Islamic faith 1,500 copies of the Holy Quran is included, also 1,500 copies of “hisnul Muslim” (prophetic supplication books) , $12,000 changed to Somali shilling is also to be distributed since the (dayr) rainy season is upon us so to use in farms, you can also see (donated) an ambulance to admit ill people rapidly to the field hospital, also a lot medicine is included, so we thank Allah then we than our mujahideen brothers, especially the top mujahideen command in the Al-Qaeda Jihad Organisation, who seriously took its responsibility to aid their brethren, this (action) shows that they have made true what Allah said “harsh against the disbelievers and merciful among themselves… (Quran 48:29)” … so we say to you may Allah reward and bless your efforts, so i call upon Abu abdallah al-muhajir to read us his statement for the ceremony.

Abū ’Abdallah al-Muhājir:

Here is his audio: Abū ‘Abdallah al-Muhājir — Statement from al-Qā’idah in Somalia

“Asalamo ‘alaykom wa rahmatollahi wa barkaatoh [Peace be upon you (all) and the mercy and blessings of Allah]”

We praise Allah, seek His help, and ask for His forgiveness. We seek refuge in God from the evils of our souls and our bad deeds.

Whomever Allah guides none can misguide and whom Allah misguides none can guide. I bear witness that there is no deity (worthy of worship) but Allah alone, and I bear witness the Mohammed (pbuh) is his slave and messenger”

Allah says, after i seek refuge from Satan the outcast “and surely we shall test you with something of fear and hunger, some loss in goods or lives or the fruits (of your toil), but give glad tidings to those who are patient , “Those when afflicted with calamity say: “Truly To Allah We belong, and truly to Him is our return”:- “They are those on whom (Descend) blessings from Allah, and Mercy, and they are the ones that receive guidance.” Quran 2:155- 2:156- 2:157

“Al-hamdulilah (Praise be to Allah) we honoured and blessed to take this opportunity to send our heartfelt greetings to our brothers and sisters in Somalia and we also take this opportunity to tell you we love you all for the sake of Allah , and we sincerely relate to your suffering and affliction during these testing times.

Dear Muslims of Somalia, it is under these strenuous circumstances that we remember the role played by our beloved Sheikh Usama Bin Laden may Allah have mercy upon him. Sheikh Osama was deeply concerned about the plight of the Muslim Ummah (nation) all over the world, including the situation in Palestine, ’iraq , Kashmir and Afghanistan to name a few places.

Having actively participated in assisting various parts of the Ummah (nation) with everything for the past 30 years, the Sheikh (Osama)  also focused his attention specifically on the hardships and tests that have afflicted the Muslim Somali people for the past decade. He as leader of Al-Qaeda organisation played a major role in repelling invading force of the muslim land in Somalia, from the American invasion during the early nineties to the recent invasion of Ethiopia as well as the current invasion of AMISOM.

In addition to sacrificing his wealth and his life in the path of Allah though waging Jihad, the Sheikh greatly emphasised the importance of Muslims supporting each other, and he brought attention to the dilemmas affecting Muslims around the world. The most recent example of which is, the major flood that affected the millions Muslims in Pakistan, and today with graceful departure of our beloved sheikh and that beacon of Tawheed (monotheism) May Allah have mercy upon him, Al-Qaeda under the leadership of Sheikh Ayman Al-dhawahiri may Allah protect him, continuously highlights the plight of the Ummah and continuously supports them with every means at their disposal.

In a recent release Sheikh Ayman brought the drought in Somalia to the attention of the Muslim Ummah and encouraged to support their brothers in Somalia, and insha’allah (Allah willing) with this message some of what your brothers in Al-Qaeda have been able to gather will be distributed to our brothers and sisters, to our families in the land of the two migrations.

We would also like to take the opportunity to encourage Muslims all around the world, to come to the assistant of their brothers and sisters in Somalia, and it is obligatory on every Muslim to assist their needy brother and sisters, the prophet (Pbuh) said: “the believers in their mutual mercy, love and compassion are like a single body, if one part of it feels pain, the rest of the body join it, in staying awake and feeling the fever.

In addition to that, we would like to praise the continuing effort of harakat- Al-shabaab – al mujahideen, who while operating under extremely difficult circumstances, have made it their priority in helping their brothers and sisters …[inaudible] , and have risen above the lies and deceit distributed by the hypocritical western media.

Finally, we ask Allah to accept it from them and allow them to continue in their honourable efforts, and give them complete victory over the disbelieving forces.

Finally to our beloved brothers and sisters in Somalia, we are following you situation on a daily basis, and though a separated by thousands of kilometres, you are consistently in our thoughts and prayers, and regardless of the differences of language, color, lineage and culture, it is the pure creed of tawheed (monotheism) and that unbreakable bond of faith that unites us all.

We encourage you all to turn in repentance to Allah, increase your effort and put your trust in Allah, and by the permission of Allah you will emerge triumphant from these temporary hardships, despite the wishes of the disbelieving west to keep you in perpetual cycle of dependence.

Allah says in Surat (verse) Nuh “”I said (to them): Ask forgiveness from your lord, verily he is oft forgiving, he will send you rain in abundance and he will increase in wealth and children, and will bestow on you gardens and bestow on you rivers” (Quran 71:10 – 71:11).

We ask Allah to bestow upon you and your land abundant rain, put blessings in your businesses, farms and live stock, and all praises due to Allah the Lord of the worlds, and may peace and blessing be upon our noble prophet.

Tandheem Qa’idat Al-jihad (Al-Qaeda Jihad Organisation)

Dhul-Qi’dah 1432

Shaykh ‘Alī Moḥamūd Raage:

“May Allah recompense you with the highest reward, we ask the Somali Muslim nation to warmly welcome their brethren. One can see the disbelievers are committing aggression against us, they’ve destroyed our homes, our land, killed our children, starved us, but our brothers are rushing to assist us, they’ve came to us from the farthest places in the world, so we say to them May Allah recompense you with great rewards.

The truth (of the matter) is, what brought them here is (the shared) monotheistic religious conviction, and as the brother pointed out (earlier), what we share the (Islamic testament of faith “there is no deity worthy of worship save Allah and Mohammed is the messenger of Allah”, without considering (other factor such as) language, colour, country, the only consideration as we mentioned earlier is “verily the believers are but one brotherhood”(Quran), and on those grounds did our brothers came to our aid and we say to them, “May Allah recompense you with the highest reward” , and we ask to redouble their efforts in all aspects, including repelling the invading disbelievers, and we ask Allah the glorified and exalted to accept those who die (from amongst them) as martyrs and protect those alive from the (evil) plans of the infidels.

To conclude this we now begin with the distribution.”



Last week, Ansar al-Shari’ah, (Supporters of Shari’ah), based in Yemen, released its first video titled “The Opening [Conquests] of Zinjibar.” Since mid-April, many analysts and scholars have wondered where this apparently new group came from, who its members were, and what connections it has to al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

The name Ansar al-Shari’ah was first mentioned in an unofficial audio release by AQAP’s leading shari’ah official, Shaykh Abu Zubayr ‘Adil bin ‘Abdullah al-Abab, who conducted a question and answer session with online global jihadi activists through PalTalk in Ghorfah Minbar al-Ansar (Pulpit Room of the Supporters). The first question was “What is the general situation of the mujahidin in Yemen and the status of the Shabab Ansar al-Shari’ah?” al-Abab responded that when they recruit new members to AQAP, they first introduce themselves under the banner of Ansar al-Shari’ah. But why would they need to do that? Has the AQ brand really become that tarnished? And is Ansar al-Shari’ah really AQAP?

Some have been skeptical of links between AQAP and Ansar al-Shari’ah. While conclusive evidence is lacking, there are several strong indicators. Ansar al-Shari’ah’s first video release, which was not published by AQAP’s media outlet al-Malahim (the Epics), highlighted “martyrs” who were also eulogized in the most recent issue of AQAP’s Inspire Magazine — Abu ‘Ali al-Harithi, ‘Ali bin Salih bin Jalal and ‘Amar ‘Abadah al-Wa’ili. Although this is not proof of collusion, there clearly seems to be some overlap. Ansar al-Shari’ah may be a subsidiary of AQAP used for recruitment and foot soldiers in Yemen’s incipient civil war. It is telling that AQAP may be recruiting individuals using a different name.

We have also recently learned that Usama bin Laden may have been looking to change the name of al-Qa’ida central. According to press reports based on leaked information from the raid that killed bin Laden, al-Qai’da’s central leadership in Pakistan was debating a couple of options for its name. This was spurred in part by the Western habit of referring to the group as al-Qa’ida, rather than its official name of Tandhim Qa’idat al-Jihad (The Base Organization of Jihad). The leadership felt that the West’s habit of omitting the word “jihad” robbed them of some of their religious legitimacy. Unfortunately for al-Qa’ida, the two alternative names on the table were a mouthful – Ta’ifat at-Tawhid wa-l-Jihad (Sect of Monotheism and Jihad) and Jama’at ’I‘adat al-Khilafah al-Rashidiyyah (Restoration Group of the Rashidun Caliphate). Ultimately, they decided to stick with Tandhim Qa’idat al-Jihad.

The name game isn’t new. al-Qa’ida in Iraq (AQI) attempted to rehabilitate its image following the death of its leader,  the notorious butcher Abu Mus’ab al-Zarqawi, in 2006. AQI changed its name to the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) as a way of rebranding itself because many Iraqis were repulsed by the organization’s overuse of violence, as well as the perception that it was made up of foreigners. The latter is also the reason they announced Abu ‘Umar al-Baghdadi, a purported Iraqi, as their new leader, although it has been disputed whether he was actually a real person. In the years since, the name change has not done much for AQI’s credibility. It remains a threat, but is a shadow of its former self.

Another place where naming is an issue is in Somalia, where Harakat al-Shabab al-Mujahidin (The Movement of the Holy Warrior Youth) has pledged allegiance to Osama bin Laden but has not changed its name to become an al-Qa’ida franchise. Leah Farrall recently wrote an excellent overview on this topic in the most recent issue of the CTC Sentinel. Although it is a great addition to the literature, there were also other explanations for the lack of formal name change. Reportedly, al-Qa’ida itself opposed the name change because it did not want al-Shabab to sully its so-called “street cred” by using its polarizing brand. It is difficult to ascertain whether these reports are credible. But the very discussion shows the growing pitfalls of the al-Qa’ida brand.

All told, the al-Qa’ida brand is not favorable anymore – even for its senior leadership. It’s a big problem if AQAP is able to recruit more individuals by rejecting the brand and taking on a name with more religious significance.[1]

Even if the brand name is discredited, AQ’s ideas still resonate with many, especially if it can be repackaged for local contexts, as in the apparent case of AQAP. As we have seen in the past, AQ is a very nimble organization that learns, evolves, and quickly adapts to a rapidly changing “battlefield.” It would be wise for our policy makers and government officials to heed these subtle changes in its counterterrorism strategies. Otherwise, we are fighting an imaginary enemy, one that only exists in our minds or that existed in 2001 or 2008, but not in 2011.


[1] Ansar or the supporters played an important role in early Islamic history when the Muslim prophet Muhammad was still preaching and calling people to Islam. Ansar were the individuals in Medina that helped Muhammad and his followers following its hijra from Mecca. Therefore, the use of the term Ansar acts as a strong link to the past that appeals to the average Muslim. Further, when attaching it to the Shari’ah, which has primacy in the lives of religious Muslims, Ansar al-Shari’ah becomes a catchy and useful name that is stronger in Islamic terms than Tandhim Qa’idat al-Jihad.