Author Topic: UK Somalis uncomfortable after Kenya attack  (Read 488 times)

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Offline EC

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UK Somalis uncomfortable after Kenya attack
« on: October 13, 2013, 01:38:03 AM »
Via al Jazeera:

London, United Kingdom - More than two weeks have passed since a siege on Nairobi's Westgate Mall led by Somali rebel group al-Shabab ended in the deaths of at least 67 people. For some members of the UK's Somali community, however, the Westgate attack is still at the top of their discussions, especially among younger Somalis.

Every attack in the Horn of Africa registers closely with the community here, a continent thousands of kilometres away. On a chilly Sunday evening, a group of young Somalis gathered at Savannah Restaurant in West London, to discuss how their lives have changed since late 2006.

That year al-Shabab, a rebel group linked to al-Qaeda that takes a hardline interpretation of Islam, was established, following Ethiopia's invasion of Somalia.

Since its inception, it is estimated that up to 50 young Somali men have left the UK for Somalia to join the group and wage war against the weak Western-backed government in Mogadishu, the capital.

Many young Somalis living overseas have been adversely affected as governments across the world try to gather intelligence and stop young men, especially those living in the West, from going to Somalia to fight and then return to wage war in the West.

'Treated like a criminal'

After al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the bloody four-day siege in Nairobi, Somalis here are feeling under more pressure than ever before.

"You are treated like a criminal," said 25-year-old university student Abdikarim Muse. "Those who are supposed to protect you [security agencies] treat you like you are a suspect."

One time I was interrogated alone in a room and released after eight hours. No one has ever told me why it keeps on happening to me and not to the non-Somali members of my band.

- Aar Maanta, British-Somali musician

In May, while returning from a political conference in Amsterdam attended by senior Somali politicians and government officials, Muse was taken aside and interrogated for more than an hour at Heathrow Airport without anyone explaining why, he said.

When he asked the plainclothes officers who interrogated him why he was the only one chosen from more than 70 people queuing at the airport's passport control, he was told it was a "routine" and "random" check. All the questions, he said, were about al-Shabab.

The experience left him shaken. "I haven't left the UK since May. I cancelled my summer travel plans. I don't want that experience again," he said in a barely audible voice, making sure patrons at the eatery didn't hear him.

Less than two kilometres away from the restaurant, on a third-floor music studio, sits British-Somali musician Aar Maanta.

Maanta, who sings about issues affecting Somalis in the diaspora and has written a song about the treatment of Somalis at airports by immigration and security officials, is preparing for the first UK-wide tour by a Somali musician. He said things were tough before for the community but now, with the attack in Nairobi, it will only get worse.

More at link.

This one strikes fairly close to home for me since we have a fairly large Somali community local to us. They are outsiders in the main, keep themselves to themselves and don't get involved in the community as a whole. They are also not exactly liked or trusted by the locals, many of whom have been here for generations.
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Offline mountaineer

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Re: UK Somalis uncomfortable after Kenya attack
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2013, 07:23:15 PM »
So go home, already. No one forced them to emigrate. Now they complain about the country that took them in.
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