Phone # (416) 926-8952 ( Daily after 5 p.m.)
Afrah is a veteran Somali journalist and the author
of three published books. He is living in Toronto with
his surviving son and grandchildren. His new Manuscript
has been accepted into the Blue Pencil Room Program
with the 1999 Writer-in-Residence, Ms Cynthia Holz,
at the Toronto Public Library. He is currently working
on that manuscript for his fourth book about living
in the Diaspora. He can be reached at email: email@example.com
-The Editor, Banadir.com
United States sifts through the smoldering wreckage of the
World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington,
D.C., Muslims, and people from the Middle East and Asia, including
Sikhs (!) are finding themselves in the crosshairs of negative
public opinion. Sikhs who are not Muslims are targeted because
of their headdress and long beards. Hindu Temples are put
to torch and Muslims in Chicago, New York, Toronto and elsewhere
receive death threats.
done anything wrong, nor have millions of other Muslims. Why
are we being blamed for the acts of a few terrorists?" Eyeopener,
a University of Toronto newspaper quoted Fatima Khan, a first-year
retail management student at the University of Toronto.
about Islam and its followers is causing a marked increase
in hate crimes around the world and in North America, according
to "Eyeopener" in its October edition.
that threaten to mangle an understanding of the Muslim, Arab
and Asian world are mostly generalizations made in the popular
culture. Some quick corrections that are only the tip of the
brown-skinned people are not of Middle Eastern origin;
are not Muslims; *Islam is the faith. Muslim is the name of
the people who follow it;
is not an Arab country; *Iranians are Persians, not Arabs;
could be Christian, Sikh, Zoarastian or Hindu, although they
could be Coptic, Christian, Jewish, Muslim or Durzi;
(Koran for the Western press) Scriptures do not allow for
the massacre of innocent people;
Palestinian does not mean you are Muslim (example: Hannan
Ashrawi, George Habasah and many other outspoken Palestinians
are Muslim you could be Shi'ite Muslim or Sunni Muslim. There
are as many denominations of Islam as there are of Christianity;
Muslim women wear the religious head- scarf. Qur'aan
5: v35 says: "Whoever killed a human being, except as punishment
for the murder or other villainy in the land, shall be regarded
as having killed all mankind; and that whoever saved a human
life shall be regarded as having saved all mankind."
Somalis are Sunni Muslims and the new transitional government
condemned international terrorism. The Prime Minister, Ali
Khalif Galayr said: "The Somali Government has neither a direct
link nor an indirect relationship with Osama bin Laden," and
called the attacks on New York and Washington, D.C. as "heinous
in the war-torn country were stunned when US intelligence
has suggested that bin Laden may be heading for Somalia. But
the transitional government has said that Osama bin Laden
would not be welcome there and has pledged to help the United
States fight terrorism.
has been devastated by civil war since 1991 in which clan-based
militia has plunged the once beautiful country into anarchy.
The transitional government still does not control all of
new agency asked a government spokesman if Bin Laden would
be welcome in Somalia.
no," replied Abdirahman Dinaari. "The Somalis do not want
any act of terrorism… we have been suffering for the last
10 years and we don't want any disturbances."
in Nairobi, capital of neigbouring Kenya, agreed that Bin
Laden would be unlikely to seek refuge in Somalia.
a place Bin Laden would stick out like a sore thumb," said
need a lot of security just to get around. It doesn't seem
like a sensible place - Somalis talk far too much," he said.
there are no mountains and caves in Somalia," another diplomat
who served his country in Somalia put in.
shake their heads whenever they read that people with beards
and wearing turbans are being arrested for possible connection
with the terrorist attacks. The American police have even
arrested an Italian for having a beard and for wearing a white
baseball cap backwards, which to the police resembled a scull
cap worn by many Muslims. "I was violated," he says. "An innocent
Italian Catholic was arrested for having a beard and for wearing
a white baseball cap backwards," he added. He was later cleared
of having any connections to Arabs and Muslims!
Singh, 49, was shot to death while doing landscape work outside
his Chevron gas station in Mesa, Arizona. Francisco Roque,
42, was held on $1 million bond in connection with the shooting
that police said could have been racially motivated!
the same week fire engulfed Samaj Temple, which serves 800
Hindus in Hamilton. Eyeopener quoted the Ontario Fire Marshal
as saying that the blaze should be treated as arson, probably
making it a case of mistaken identity. A nearby mosque had
also been vandalized.
to sing O Canada, holding hands with fellow Canadians. But
now I receive phone threats from the same friends and neighbours.
They are judging me of what they think Islam is all about,"
said Mohamed Muhiddin Ali, a Somali-Canadian who once saved
an elderly woman on an out-of-control electric wheelchair
in Hamilton, Ontario.
want to send a resume with the name Mohamed anymore, because
I know they would not even bother to read it," he added.
Somali-Canadian wondered if America's global war against terrorism
will include Northern Ireland and the Basque terrorists in
Spain. Will they continue supporting the IRA, the ETA and
the anti-Saddam Hussein Kurds as they kill and maim innocent
no answer for that question.
Afrah is a published author of three books on the civil war
in his native country of Somalia. He also covered the Horn
of Africa country for Reuters news agency for more than two
decades. He is a member of the Journalists-in-Exile under
the umbrella of the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression
(CJFE). Writing in the British edition of ESQUIRE magazine
of April 1995, Aidan Hartley who worked with Afrah in Africa
described his frontline reporting as BRAVERY UNDER FIRE.
Afrah is currently writing another book about life in the
Diaspora and can be reached at email:firstname.lastname@example.org -