"We Deny That We Are Harboring Terrorists"

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Following is the text of a letter sent by Somalia's Islamic leaders to the international community

To: United Nations Political Office in Somalia, UNDP Resident Representative, The League of Arab Nations, African Union, Organization of Islamic Countries, IGAD, European Union, Department of State, United States Government, United States Embassy in Nairobi, Italian Embassy, French Embassy, British Embassy, German Embassy, Djibouti Embassy, Norwegian Embassy, Swedish Embassy, South African Embassy, Egyptian Embassy, Nigerian Embassy, Saudi Embassy, Yemen Embassy, Sudan Embassy.

Date: June 5, 2006

The Union of Islamic Courts in Mogadishu, have decided to break the silence between us and the international community. We made this decision in order to clarify the situation in Mogadishu and to bring the true picture of the conflict in the city and present it to the international community.

Background:

The Islamic courts have been established in Mogadishu in mid 1998 and are clan-based that serve their particular communities. For example Polytechnic(for Shabelle sub clan), Ifka Halane (for the Eary Sub-Clan), Yaqshid (for the Harti-Abgal sub clan), Circole (for the Saleban Sub-clan), Milk Factory (Duduble sub-clan), Al-Furqan (Saíad sub-clan) Xariryale and Daynile (Murusade clan), Balad (Wabudhan-Abgal Sub-Clan) etc. The main objectives of these courts [are] to provide a minimum security, law and order to the communities that established them.The courts assume these responsibilities out of patriotism and service to our people, country and communities.

The Present Conflict

A Retrospective analysis of why the Somali Federal Government could not locate in the capital city, Mogadishu, was due to the "warlord" ministers of the Somali Federal Government who refused to be engaged in the Somali peace process and choose to keep the country hostage. These warlords refused to disarm, surrender their illegal checkpoints and transform to be national leaders.

The present conflict has been fueled by the wrong information given to the US Government by these warlords who have denied their basic human needs for security and development and kept the Somali people hostages and terrorized them for the last 16 years. Their expertise is to terrorize people and they were able to use it and terrorize the American government by misinforming them about the presence of terrorists in Somalia. These warlords are allegedly supported by the American government, [which] ignores the long criminal history of these warlords and the war crimes they committed against their own people. The alleged support of the US government to these warlords has contributed to the recent fighting in Mogadishu and the killing of the Somali people who has suffered so long in the hand of these warlords.

Finally, after 16 years, the Somali people have decided to liberate themselves with the leadership of the Islamic court. The present changes were brought by the appraisal and refusal of the Somali people the anarchic situation installed by the warlords and said enough is enough!

We would also like to address some of the misinformation and accusations fabricated by the warlords and wish to provide the international communities with accurate information that will assist them to support the desires and the will of our people who wish to be free form violence and anarchy,

International Terrorism:

1) Somalia is a homogenous society, and any outsiders can be spot immediately. We are Muslim 100%, speak the same language and have cultural heritage that is very hard to understand for outsiders. We have a complex clan based system that is not easy for non-Somali to understand, let alone hide in the country. We categorically deny and reject any accusation that we are harboring any terrorists or supporters of terrorism in the areas where the courts operate.

2) We also confirm that our goals and objectives are to establish law and order in our country and free our people from oppression.

3) We share no objectives, goals or methods with groups that sponsor or support terrorism. We have no foreign elements in our courts, and we are simply here because of the need of the community we serve.

4) We invite the International Community to visit the area where the court operates and see for themselves if there are any terrorists elements being harbored or living in this area. We commit ourselves and our clan elders to this position: to be open and honest in order to spare the Somali people the violence and the suffering being perpetrated by the warlords. We have nothing to hide from the international community and we strongly believe that, once they realize what we do and what we have achieved, they will support our initiative and efforts to bring peace and stability to Somalia.

5) There is also the accusation that we intend to establish an anti-US and Western government in Somalia. This is not true. Such an agenda is against our objectives and goals since this would contradict our wish for there to be a peaceful Somalia. This falsehood is being fabricated to get support from US Government by groups who have terrorized the people of this country for the last 16 years.

6) We want [to] create an environment that could enable our people to decide their future. We want the Somali people to decide which form of governance they want and choose their leaders for the first time in decades.

We would like to summarize our goals and objectives as follows:

1) To establish a system of governance in Mogadishu, and remove all the checkpoints and terror points that the warlords have set up and disarm all criminal elements that endanger the peace in the city;

2) We want to contribute to the rebuilding of our country and create a peaceful environment and a country that is at peace with itself, and with its neighbors and with the international community.

3) To rehabilitate and rebuild all the city infrastructures especially those that belong to the city governments, including its sea ports, airports, road, bridges, schools, hospitals, universities and have committees of the intellectuals running and operating these facilities;

4) We would like to establish a friendly relationship with the international community that is based on mutual respect and interest and seek their support for the Somali peace process and respect their desire for peace.

5) We seek support for our communities who have been denied all the basic human needs such as security, liberty and development as accepted universally and in accordance to the human rights laws;

We thank you in advance for your kind patience, understanding and support.

Sheikh Sherif Sheikh Ahmed

Chairman, Islamic Courts Union