A suicide bomber from Minneapolis leaves a chilling message

Suicide bombings were not invented in recent times, but to an uninformed observer, as a method of making war and delivering  political messages, suicide bombings have been increasing at a frightening rate.  According to one story,  on the combined suicide-bomber and armed-solider attack in Somalia this weekend, there had been none in Somalia before 2007 and now they occur weekly.  Suicide bombings occur daily across the Middle East and Africa and occasionally in Europe.  Naively a few years ago, I wrote that we were certain to run out of people willing to blow themselves up for a cause – today that seems foolish, not naive.

What motivates a suicide bomber?  What events in their lives lead up to such a moment?  Or is it not about their personal lives, but rather about grand ideals and the grand events in which they are minor actors?  We rarely know, after all by definition, the bombers die in the very act – sometimes the organization that trained and sponsored the bomber releases a statement.  Those statements are a bit suspect – the statements are after all public relations releases and have to be treated in that light.  But sometimes we do get a glimpse of the thought process of the bomber; such was the case this weekend with the death of two suicide bombers in Somalia.  The story got a lot of play because one of the bombers was an American citizen,  Abdisalan Taqabalahullaah, – born in Somalia he had been brought to the United States at the age of two – the Minneapolis-St. Paul area – and at some point like an estimated 20 others returned to Somalia.  He is thought to be the fourth American educated Somali suicide bomber.  There is a large Somali population in the region, today in an act of self-defense they were holding a meeting and speaking out against acts of violence and Al-Shabab.

Abdisalan Taqabalahullaah returned to Somalia to join Al-Shabab as a fighter for an Islamic state.  In the attack that lead to his death, he and another bomber were part of a group of 10 men trying to get into a African Union military post; the attempt was unsuccessful.  Al-Shabab claims that 80 Ugandan soldiers  were killed, the African Union says only the 10 men from Al-Shabab were killed.

Al-Shabab released a tape reported to be from Taqabalahullaah.  It certainly sounds genuine, filled with American slang, “you knows”  and cultural references – it indicates a very simplistic world-view, neither his religion or his politics reflect much education or deep thought.  However simple his belief system, it supports dying in the process of killing others; rather than becoming doctors, lawyers or coach potatoes, he urges, become martyrs.  Not very comforting is it?

“My brothers and sisters, do jihad in America, do jihad in Canada, do jihad in England, anywhere in Europe, in Asia, in Africa, in China, in Australia,” the voice said. “Anywhere you find (unbelievers), fight them and be firm against them. “Today jihad is what is most important thing for the Muslim ummah,” he said, using a word for the Islamic community. “It is not important that you, you know, you you become a doctor or you become, you know, uh, some sort of engineer.”  “We have to believe in Allah and die as Muslims … Brainstorm,” the youth said. “Don’t, don’t just sit around and, you know, be, be be a couch potato and you know, you know, just like, you know, just chill all day, you know. It doesn’t, it doesn’t, it will not benefit you, it will not benefit yourself, or the Muslims.” Minneapolis Star Tribune, 10-30-11




1 Response to “A suicide bomber from Minneapolis leaves a chilling message”

  1. 1 Jabittan November 1, 2011 at 9:11 pm

    The last reading I had for my world politics class was written in 1993 and focused on conflict shifting from state oriented to culture oriented. It predicted more conflicts based on culture, things like religion and language, as opposed to conflicts based on nationalism or ideology, such as communism vs democracy. Its pretty interesting, I can email it to you if you would like.

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