Mogadishu- 16.3.2014: Somali Prime Minister, Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed, hosted yesterday a meeting with Somali religious leaders to announce the creation of a government office for religious scholars and condemn the actions and ideology of Al-Shabbab telling them “you have a big role in defending our religion, our people and our country”.
The new office will strengthen the relationship between the Federal Government of Somalia and religious scholars. The office will have a key role to play in influencing public opinion and government decision making.
The meeting was attended by the Deputy Prime Minister & Religious Affairs Minister Ridwan Hirsi Mohamed, Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Farah Sh. Abdulkadir Mohamed, Minister of Information Mustaf Ali Duhulow, Minister of Agriculture Abdi Ahmed Hussein and 16 religious scholars.
Addressing the religious scholars the Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed, said:
“The main aim of this meeting is to have a collective position towards the religious less people of Al-Shabaab and show to Somalia and people of the world that these people are on the wrong path.
“You are a very important part of the governance of this nation and play a leading role in the fight against Al-Shabaab. That is why I’m creating a government office for religious scholars to incorporate you closer to the government and help bridge the gap between the people and the government. You will have a leading role in helping influence public opinion and be part of the decision making of this government.
“It is our national and religious duty to fight against Al-Shabaab. We will create a framework of increased co-operation between the government and religious scholars. You have a big role in defending our religion, our people and our country.”
Nor Barud, Second Chairman of the Somali Religious Scholars Union, said:
“Thank you to the Prime Minister for hosting us today. This is a very critical time to clarify what is wrong and what is right, the religious leaders are leaders of the people so we must clarify the religious issues of the country.
“Al-Shabaab are claiming to be religious but killing innocent people at sacred places like mosques show they are not true Muslims they are misguided. They have very little understanding of what the Islamic religion teaches us.”