Responding to the political and religious ideology of al Qaeda and affiliates such as al Shabaab, splinter groups and their ideological fellow travellers seek to increase their appeal to potential recruits and supporters, civil society, state funders and the general public. Their terrorist violence aims for behaviour modification of targeted groups, states and other audiences, while their propaganda has the same aim. Both their violent acts and their online and offline communications are bound by a global political-religious ideology that is dynamically amended to suit local realities.
Al Shabaab has taken the global narrative and adjusted it to fit audiences in Kenya. Below, we outline their claims and respond showing why they are wrong, doomed to failure and offensive to all freedom and progress-loving peoples.
These groups weaponise and misuse Islam, especially the fundamental theological concepts of Ummah, Sharia, Caliphate and Jihad, which they recruit into their ideological weaponry as follows:
1. Division, Absoluteness, Supremacism & Exclusivity (Misuse of Ummah)
2. Rejection of the Kenyan State, nation-states & the UN (Misuse of Khilafah)
3. Forced Islamisation of Kenya (Misuse of Shariah)
4. Murder, Barbarity and Terrorism justified by perverting religion (Misuse of Jihad)
O believers! Fulfil your covenants. – Qur’an 5:1
Whoever kills a person under covenant [i.e. with whom they have a treaty] will never smell the perfume of Paradise.
Establish prayer, give alms, shun evil and live wherever you wish in the land of your people. The land belongs to God; people are servants of God: so wherever you find goodness, settle there!
– The Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him (571-632 CE)