February 08, 2010
Great: Huffpo Blogger Wants Sharia, Is Official Representative of Somalian Taliban (UPDATE: Works for CAIR)
Earlier I posted on the news that the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) led Somali Unity government had appointed an American citizen, Abukar Arman, to be their special envoy to the US. This would be the same ICU that we dubbed the African Taliban because of their support for Taliban-esque sharia law. The image to the right was taken at an ICU rally in Mogadishu shortly after they came to power the first time. Yes, that is Osama bin Laden.
In that post I asked if any one knew who Abukar Arman was. Thanks to dahozho, we learn that in addition to being a "community activist", Arman is also an author at the Huffington Post.
In this post Arman advocates the implementation of sharia law in Somalia. Ironically, since he's now working for a government that wishes to impose Taliban-like sharia, he argues that Taliban-like sharia isn't, you know, the real sharia:
If by Shariah we mean the Talibanesque, self-righteous, and unjust brand currently being practiced by the Somali Neo-Islamists known as al-Shabab and Hizbul Islam, the answer is: No.As if the ICU didn't support similar if not the same type of sharia advanced by other Islamist groups in the country.
I'm not sure I understand why any Muslim who has tasted freedom wants sharia. Even moderate Islamic jurisprudence calls for penalties for blasphemy, even if they sometimes eschew the death penalty. Hence, unless one resorts to definitional tricks -- like calling anything they like sharia, and anything they don't like not sharia -- then it seems that sharia is inherently antithetical to secular governance.
But let us assume that some very liberal forms of sharia can be reconciled with modernity. If history is any guide then unfortunately the government which he now apparently represents doesn't want that.
Now, I'm not saying that ICU Islamists of Sharif Sheikh Ahmed aren't less despicable than those of the al Shabaab. Clearly, there is more order to the murders and oppression which would accompany a real consolidation of power in the ICU and its so-called Unity government. And since the al Shabaab is clearly aligned with al Qaeda (which, I note that Arman disputes -- even though Shabaab itself makes the claim) it makes a whole lot of sense that we have to deal with the ICU as there may be no better alternatives.
The problem here is not necessarily that Arman is now working for what will clearly be an oppressive regime. Neither is the problem that Arman advocates reconciliation with that regime. Realpolitik may mean we have to learn to live with the bad in order to avoid the worse.
The problem is that the Huffington Post has given him a bullhorn to spread what are essentially lies. Lies about the nature of sharia. Lies about the nature of Sharif Ahmed's vision of political Islam. The actions of the former ICU government led by Ahmed speak for themselves.
Perhaps reconciliation is a worthy goal in Somalia. Stability also may be a worthy goal. And so, too, a government willing to oppose the al Shabaab. The suffering of the Somali people may be less under an oppressive sharia regime than under the present chaos.
But Arman is clearly a propagandist who wishes to whitewash what has happened in Somalia and disconnect all of the many atrocities done there from the ideology which inspired those very same atrocities -- political Islam.
Arman reminds me of one of those apologists for Communism who were all the rage on the Left during the height of the Cold War and which were endlessly quoted in the Soviet Press. And the HuffPo has become his Pravda.
UPDATE: I asked Robert Spencer if he had come across Abukar Arman. He has. For instance, see these posts which take on Arman's past publications. Apparently he's the kind of guy who likes to accuse those that disagree with political Islam "Islamophobes" or worse -- he insinuates that those opposed to political Islam are racists (including, ironically, Charles Johnson):
"More people were victimized as a result of Islamophobia than the other way around"
Islamophobia? Not so fast
Slander against Spencer, Horowitz in Middle East Times editorial
Also see this Front Page article about Arman from Patrick Poole:
Abukar Arman is one of the most prominent public defenders of the al-Qaeda-backed ICU terrorist organization in the West, having published numerous articles in print and online defending the group prior to their violent takeover of Somalia last summer, during their campaign to impose shari’a on the Somali population during brief time in power, and following the ICU’s expulsion late last year by Ethiopian troops to restore the UN-backed Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and to defuse the threats made by the ICU to conduct terror operations inside Ethiopia.Also, zero guesses which "civil rights" organization Arman heads up in Columbus, Ohio?
Back this past December [2006 -- ed], Arman called the ICU takeover of Somali “the best thing that happened to Somalia in the past 16 years”: