Over the years weird Shabab stories have been surfacing online, some of them so weird that I thought people would laugh at them and move on. But some have stood the test of time and are still passed out as facts by some news outlets.
I want to examine some of the weirdest stories that have come up over the years and whether or not they are true. I believe there should be a line between not liking the Shabab and propagating outright lies about them that discredits one’s opposition.
I neither like the Shabab nor do I want them to win the war (Click here for my position on the Shabab and the TFG). However, I will not make up lies about them.
The following is a list of the Shabab facts and fictions that have been floating around:
1) The Shabab have banned bras from their areas of control. This is FICTION: The Shabab enforce a strict version of Shariah that forbid men and women to touch in public, even if they are brother and sister (their argument: everyone can say they are siblings). How can they feel up a woman in search of a bra?
When I asked the Shabab why they did not refute these allegations, they told me that they couldn’t because it was too embarrassing to talk about such matters for them.
Reporters who keep adding the phrase “a militant organisation that has also banned bras” when describing the Shabab in their articles come off as stupid to me. If you think saying the truth about them will not get them opposition, then you don’t even know why you oppose them. I know why I oppose them.
I can also confirm that Bras are openly sold in Shabab territory on the outskirts of Mogadishu.
2) The Shabab rape women or force women to marry them. This is also FICTION:
This is perhaps the most idiotic story, alleging that the Shabab foreign fighters get women kidnapped for them and then marry those women.
Think of yourself as a terrorist who goes to fight in a distant land with drones probably looking for your ass. Would you marry the first stranger your friends kidnap for you? The answer is no, if you are a Shabab foreign fighter.
They marry women of Shabab repute who are supporters of their cause. Have you ever seen the Shabab demonstrations and the women who show up, some of them with guns? These are also known as Shabab women and are pretty popular with foreign fighters and the more religious local Shabab fighters.
As for rape, this might be true, but at a very low rate. The total Shabab rapes might be less than a dozen (the weekly TFG rape), with many brought to justice, at least one rapist stoned to death.
It is not the raped women who are stoned to death, as some people have sometimes asked me . This is just ridiculous.
3) The Shabab are oppressive to women. This is FICTION or FACT, depending on how you look at it:
If you are a woman who wants to go out not dressed in the Shabab-approved heavy Jilbab, then for you this is true. They do jail women who they deem dressed immodestly until someone brings her Shabab-approved clothing. No flogging or stoning to death for this “crime”.
To get an idea of the Shabab-approved clothing, think of the Abaya (black, full length clothing worn mostly by Gulf Arab women). That is considered soft and see-through, and therefore illegal. Jail time! The Afghan Burka? That is also soft and can sometimes show the outlines of a woman’s body, and therefore illegal. Jail time for wearing a Burka!
However, they don’t make the veil an obligation. It is an optional piece of Islamic clothing. (many girls use it to hide when going somewhere).
Also, they don’t make women stay at home. They allow women to work and study. Stories saying otherwise are FICTION.
They have women members who teach their wives/sisters/mothers/members the security procedures and how to keep their mouths shut ( 😀 ). The wives of foreign fighters are obviously also given such courses.
An interesting fact to think about is the ratio of women to men who have been flogged or stoned to death for fornication and adultery. Only one girl has been stoned to death by the Shabab. This caused headlines about how the Shabab mistreat women. As for men, it seems like the Shabab stone a man to death for adultery once every two months in aggregate. There should be men’s rights groups screaming foul.
The reason for this is because it isn’t easy to convict a woman of having sex outside of marriage out of her own free will. She can say she was raped, and case closed.
What will the dude say if he was caught on top of the woman? I tripped and fell will probably not work.
There was an interesting case around 2009 in Beledweyne. A young man who had not been married had impregnated his maid. She said she was raped when she was clearly pregnant. Not asking her why she was quiet all along, the court asked the guy if he did it and he admitted impregnating the girl but said he hadn’t raped her – as if that would save him from punishment. He got his 100 lashes and the girl was set free (there was stuff about the guy paying her bills, etc).
Where are the Men’s Rights Organisations?
4) They have banned cigarettes and Khat. This is FICTION:
They banned the taking of these in public areas, but have designated special selling and consumption areas for them.
They don’t allow planes carrying Khat to land in their territory (a potential tax source), but allow the Khat to be transported from TFG territory to theirs. This can only mean that in the long run, they do intend to ban Khat – a move that I think would be good for the Somali people. The TFG should ban Khat too – forgot that their fighters can’t fight except when they are high on Khat.
5) They remove the teeth of people with gold teeth to sell them. This is FICTION.
This is so bizarre. Who the hell made this shit up? Dahir Alasow made up many things about the Shabab, maybe this is also his creation.
6) They banned Science and English. This is FICTION.
Need I explain why this is fiction? They have hundreds of fighters who communicate with the locals with either English or Arabic.
Also, banning a language is against their creed as it is discrimination, which is Haram.
If you have other Shabab stories that you would like me to look at, please let me know and leave a comment. Thanks.