A Somali news portal has reported that the International Union of Muslim Scholars, headed by global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi, has issued a statement calling on the Somali people to support its new, Western-backed President. According to the report:
The International Union of Muslim Scholars, headed by Shaykh Dr Yusuf al-Qaradawi, has called on the Somali people and all their factions and groups to stand behind their elected President Shaykh Sharif Shaykh Ahmad, who is known for his composure, intellect, good manners, and loyalty towards his religion and nation. The union has said that “we congratulate him for defeating and forcing the occupation forces out of Somalia, praying to Almighty God to grant him success, show him the right path to improve his country, and send him loyal assistants.” In a statement they issued in Doha, the union has called on the Somalis to free themselves from the tribal fanaticism which has divided them, and urged them to support each other, forget the past with all its tragedies, and look forward for the better future for which they stage demonstrations, united under the banner of Islam and Koran….The union has expressed in its statement that it is ready to sponsor any brotherly and serious dialogue between Shaykh Sharif and the opposing factions in the nearest possible time and in any place of their choice. The union has declared that it is ready to send a high-level delegation from the executive office and trusteeship council to carry out this mission.
Islam Online, the Islamic news portal associated with Youssef Qaradawi, provides the following biography of the new Somali President:
Born in 1964 in Shabeellaha Dhexe province in north-eastern Somalia, Sheikh Sharif belongs to the Abgaal branch of the Hawiye clan, one of the country’s two largest and prominent clans. Sheikh Sharif, whose family follows a Somali Sufi group called Al-Idressiya, received religious education at a school run by Al-Azhar, the highest religious seat in the Muslim world. As a deadly civil war broke out in 1991, he left to Sudan to complete his academic education. After studying for two years at the Kurdufan University, Sharif left for Libya where he obtained a degree in Islamic Shari`ah in 1998. He returned to Mogadishu where he worked as a geography teacher for some time. In 2002, Sheikh Sharif co-founded the Islamic Courts Union, which briefly ruled Somalia in 2006 and restored a rare peace and security to the war-torn country. He went into exile in Eritrea when Ethiopia invaded Somalia in December 2006 to oust his ruling group and install the weak interim government. In 2007, Sheikh Sharif was elected the leader of the opposition Alliance of the Re-liberation of Somalia (ARS). In October 2008, ARS signed a power-sharing deal with the interim government, paving the way for the withdrawal of the Ethiopian troops. A month later, Sheikh Sharif returned to his stronghold of Jowhar, located some 90 kilometers north of Mogadishu, for the first time in two years after Ethiopian troops vacated the town. On January 31, 2009, Sheikh Sharif was elected Somalia’s 7th president by the Djibouti-based parliament.
Interestingly, another source of unknown reliability provides almost the same biography based on the Islam Online bio but adds that Sharif had joined the Muslim Brotherhood while in Sudan, not surprising as other sources note the link between the Islamic Courts and the Muslim Brotherhood.