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NY Times: Somali radio gives 10-year-old contest winners AK-47 assault rifles, grenades

A radio station run by Somalia’s al-Shabab Islamist group has awarded AK-47 assault rifles to children as young as 10 who won a Koran-reciting and general knowledge contest.

Andulus radio, based near the Somali capital of Mogadishu, gave students who won top honors in the Ramadan competition their own rifles and the equivalent of $700 in Somali cash, according to Jeffrey Gettleman in the New York Times.

The contest featured questions that al-Shabab seemed to think every child should know, “like which war was Sheik Timajilic (a famous al-Shabab warrior) killed in?” reported Gettleman:

Without a functioning central government, Somalia has some of the lowest schooling rates in the world, and many Somali children are more familiar with rifles than rulers. Contestants in the Shabab quiz included children from all across Shabab-controlled areas of Somalia, most of the southern third of the country. The children competed live on air from the many radio stations nationwide that the Shabab control.


On Sunday, the awards were handed out at a ceremony held at the Andalus radio station in Elasha Biyaha, a small town near Mogadishu, the capital. (Andalus was the part of Spain seized by the Arabs in the Middle Ages.)

Second prize-winners also received an AK-47 and $500. Third prize was two hand grenades and $400, according to the BBC:

Al-Shabab, linked to al-Qaeda, controls much of southern and central Somalia.

Four children, aged 10-17, were chosen to represent each district in the competition held during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which ended in August.

“Youths should use one hand for education and the other for a gun to defend Islam,” senior al-Shabab official Mukhtar Robow told the prize-giving ceremony in Elasha, 12 miles from Mogadishu.


“Al-Shabab and other militant Islamist groups in Somalia have become famous for their zeal in enforcing their strict interpretation of Islamic purity,” reported the Times. “Last year, al-Shabab outlawed school bells in a southern Somalia town after deciding that they sounded too much like church bells. Al-Shabab has also banned bras, gold teeth, dancing and soccer, deeming them un-Islamic, and barred many Western aid groups, even though Somalia is suffering from a famine and tens of thousands of people have already starved to death.

“Another militant Somali group, Hizbul Islam, ordered radio stations to stop playing music, which forced broadcasters to eliminate even the faintest suggestion of harmonious sounds from their daily programming,” reported Gettleman:


Some stations substituted the musical introductions to news broadcasts with the sounds of gunshots, engine roars, car horns and animal grunts.

Somalia has subsisted without a functioning central government for two decades. The country is now fragmented into various zones of loose control, with Islamist groups, clan militias, regional administrations and a very weak, internationally supported central government battling one another.

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  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Greg Peters

    Sounds like the Religon of Peace is at is again. Wake up America! Better take notice of what is going on in the rest of the world!

  • Dr. Robert C. Greer

    The Qur’an teaches that all Muslims are responsible for participation in global islamification (e.g., Q 90:5, 7-9; 110:1-3; 23:51-52; 22:40-48; 3:169-173; 61:8-13). It only stands to reason that those who are careful in their reading of the Qur’an and who seek to apply it faithfully in our current age would instruct their children in these same truths and equip them to become jihadists. These Somalis who organized this project whereby those who memorized large portions of the Qur’an would be awarded with weaponry, such as an AK 47 and then encouraged to engage in jihadistic warfare.

    We think of such people are deranged or dysfunctional—that their problem is sociological, psychological or economical in nature. Such in not the case. At its essence, the problem is a theological question. These people are grounded in a document (the Qur’an) which advocates violence, martyrdom, and terrorism (whatever it takes) to bring about an islamified world.

    It is only when the West stops attempting to solve this in terms of sociology, psychology and economics (all of which are ultimately dead-ends), and begins to look at the situation in terms of theology (specifically, at the Qur’an), that progress will be made in resolving the serious and increasingly malignant problem. Moderate Muslims, of course, argue that the Qur’an is a book of peace—but only if it is read metaphorically. That is to say, only when it is read in a fashion where one seeks hidden meanings (reading between the lines). Moderate Muslims are actually reading into the qur’anic text (that which scholars call eisegesis) Enlightenment and Post-Enlightenment values that have their origin in Europe. They may do this if they wish, but when they do this they are not reading the Qur’an according to its intended original meaning. Its
    intended meaning, as I stated above, is global islamification by whatever means necessary. That which the Somalis are doing with the project of giving arms to young children fits into this overall scheme.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment BARBARA

    Well now isn’t that just peachy keeny, handing kids rifles and grenades is a wonderful thing to do?. Islamic people have a big problem big time!

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Billie

    Oh My God. When i saw and read about this radio station should not give weapons for prizes for a school project done well. These children are babies NOT grown men at war.I am totally in shock of just the thought that they would allow this.We have always taught our children about how dangerous guns and such are, I see the wrong message being sent. I will pray to our All mighty God to help these children. Children need to be protected not taught at such a young age to be the protector. Where are these childrens parents and why arent they putting a stop to this. Children should be awarded with ribbions and praise and such, Not givin such dangerous items. God Bless all.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment George Wilberg

    This is interesting a “game” show with something all terrorists want? Yep the iconic AK-47. Wonder if it was “gift” wrapped. If people don’t think that civilization is traveling back in time to the Jurassic age of dinosaurs they are just plain wrong. Primitive man is reborn in the 21st century. Interesting!

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