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August 2nd, 2011
07:47 AM ET

Ramadan offensive threatens Somalia's starving

By Nima Elbagir, CNN

Mogadishu, Somalia (CNN) - The Ramadan offensive has begun here, an obvious date to rally supporters of the al Qaeda affiliated Al-Shabaab militant group, but this year feels a little different.

I was in the Somali capital two years ago and every night, just before the call to prayer signaled the breaking of the fast, we'd hear a cacophony of mortar rounds and gunfights.

Somali friends told me back then the militants believed dying in battle while still fasting would ensure they "entered heaven without even taking their shoes off."

This year Al-Shabaab's grip on the capital and the loyalty of Somalis feels more tenuous. Since I was last here in 2009 the rains have failed and the drought has spread bringing with it famine and desperation.

Read the full story of the Ramadan offensive in Somalia
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Africa • Belief • Islam • Ramadan

soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. TRB

    The writing is on the wall my friends! God is coming! Athiests say that Christians are delusional and stuck in fairytales. They say that we are ignorant and lost and cant think for ourselves. They say that we are out of touch of reality, but are we...? As a Christian I believe I am more in touch with reality then you are my Athiest friends. I have been studying bible prophecy and reading news and I must say what I am finding is extrodinary to say the least. It is all falling in place! Read it very carefully and you will see for yourselves. Maybe a touch of true reality might save you in the end! What are you going to do when you are face to face with your creator?? When you fall to your knees in front of him with nothing left but your shame and ignorance for ignoring and bashing and humiliating him all your lives?? Hmm what are you going to do?? Is your salvation worth not knowing the truth?? Think about it!!

    August 3, 2011 at 9:17 am |
  2. Methusalem2000

    "Somali friends told me back then the militants believed dying in battle while still fasting would ensure they "entered heaven without even taking their shoes off.""

    Exactly like the Koran teaches them. This is how Mohammad practiced it. These are true Muslims.

    August 2, 2011 at 7:27 pm |
  3. John

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W5zylpNWxVo&w=640&h=360]

    August 2, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
    • .....

      TROLL ALERT – this is complete garbage don't waste your time, click the report abuse link to get rid of this troll.

      August 2, 2011 at 6:49 pm |
  4. Reality

    From Ayaan Hirsi Ali as noted in her book, Infidel:

    "The kind on thinking I saw in Saudi Arabia and among the Brotherhood of Kenya and Som-alia, is incompatible with human rights and liberal values. It preserves the feu-dal mind-set based on tr-ibal concepts of honor and shame. It rests on self-deception, hypro-cricy, and double standards. It relies on the technologial advances of the West while pretending to ignore their origin in Western thinking. This mind-set makes the transition to modernity very painful for all who practice Islam".

    "Thus begins the extraordinary story of a woman born into a family of desert nomads, circu-mcised as a child, educated by radical imams in Kenya and Saudi Arabia, taught to believe that if she uncovered her hair, terrible tragedies would ensue. It's a story that, with a few different twists, really could have led to a wretched life and a lonely death, as her grandmother warned. But instead, Hi-rsi Ali escaped – and transformed herself into an internationally renowned spokeswoman for the rights of Muslim women."

    ref: Washington Post book review.

    some added excerpts:

    "Some of the Saudi women in our neighborhood were regularly be-aten by their husbands. You could hear them at night. Their scre-ams resounded across the courtyards. "No! Please! By Allah!"

    "The Pakistanis were Muslims but they too had cas-tes. The Untou-chable girls, both Indian and Pakistani were darker skin. The others would not play with them because they were unt-ouchable. We thought that was funny because of course they were tou-chable: we to-uched them see? but also hor-rifying to think of yourself as un-touchable, des-picable to the human race."

    "Between October 2004 and May 2005, eleven Muslim girls were ki-lled by their families in just two regions (there are 20 regions in Holland). After that, people stopped telling me I was exa-ggerating."

    "The kind on thinking I saw in Saudi Arabia and among the Brotherhood of Kenya and Som-alia, is incompatible with human rights and liberal values. It preserves the feu-dal mind-set based on tr-ibal concepts of honor and shame. It rests on self-deception, hypro-cricy, and double standards. It relies on the technologial advances of the West while pretending to ignore their origin in Western thinking. This mind-set makes the transition to modernity very painful for all who practice Islam".

    August 2, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
  5. Student of Wolrd Religions

    Ramadan: Fast (Sawn) Honoring the Arrival of the Qur’an. Fasting is an annual lifelong requirement for every devout Muslim. However, Al Qaeda affiliated Al-Shabaab militant group just don’t know the difference between people fasting and starving the people of Somalia.

    August 2, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
  6. AGuest9

    "Despair and insanity"??? Atheism is evil???

    You people need to look no farther than in your mirror and your history of murder and war to prove who believes in the right boogeyman to see where evil lives.

    Oh, and @Seriously? Your "PROVEN" holds about as much water as the screwy intelligent design arguments.

    August 2, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
  7. Bo

    @ Prayers: In your 11:09 post you are very right, there are a few Biblical prophices yet to be fulfiled, but Christ will return very soon. but in your 11:12 post aren't you spewing a little bit of hate? You have a blessed day and may the love God be with you.

    August 2, 2011 at 12:41 pm |
  8. Prayers

    Somalia – 9.3 million people with less than 20% literacy with 99.7% Muslim. Christians and converts from Islam get murdered regularly.

    August 2, 2011 at 11:04 am |
  9. Bo

    My friend, I wish that I had the space to explain the cosmic battle that is being fought between good and evil, but good must allow evil to play out to the very end and then good will put and end to all evil and the whole universe will understand how destructive evil really is. However, I doubt that neither you or I will live to see that happen.

    August 2, 2011 at 10:32 am |
    • Prayers

      Jesus is returning any minute. The good God has been sovereign for always. The evil(Satan) is a defeated enemy. Humans must obey God. There is the Judgment Day for everyone. Jesus saves those who trust Him.

      August 2, 2011 at 11:09 am |
    • Peter

      Jesus IS coming, verry soon. I know it

      August 2, 2011 at 9:10 pm |
  10. HeavenSent

    Kebos, I can read from your post that compassion is lost on the ills of you!

    Amen.

    August 2, 2011 at 10:27 am |
    • Kebos

      Wow, you're all a bunch of quacks. I wish "Prayers" and "Seriously" had clarity of mind to really understand what they were saying. It is the feeble and lazy mind that takes up a religious ideology. To live a life obscured by a pack of lies. For me, that is unfortunate but I suppose if that gets you by day for day with no harm coming to you or others then good luck to you.

      August 2, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
    • Bonita

      Kebos, you are being deceived by your own stupidity and by the inclination to your own lies. Don't trust your filthy self.

      August 3, 2011 at 10:14 am |
  11. Kebos

    Dying in battle while fasting only means you might feel some hunger pains as well as whatever pains mortally wounded you just before you lose consciousness and die. And nothing more.

    As for the famine in Somalia, they may be starving to death but at least they have their religion. Let their God feed them. Oh....yeah......that ain't working out so good for them. I wonder why that is. Maybe because God doesn't exist and Mohammed was nothing more than a man with a psychosis. Much like Smith was to the Mormons. It all makes me shake my head and look forward to the day when humanity can and will think for themselves and stop putting their trust and hope in things that don't exist.

    August 2, 2011 at 8:15 am |
    • Prayers

      Starvation or death is not the worst thing on earth. Atheism is, because it is evil, meaningless and leads to despair and insanity.

      August 2, 2011 at 11:12 am |
    • Seriously

      "Atheism is, because it is evil, meaningless and leads to despair and insanity."

      Prove it.

      August 2, 2011 at 11:13 am |
    • @Seriously

      Look at your own filthy life. PROVEN. Don't hurt yourself, please, no matter what happens. God created you and Jesus loves you. There is the God-given beautiful meaning in this world. Just repent of your sins.

      August 2, 2011 at 11:56 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.