Islam Online, the Islamic news portal associated with global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi, has reported that the new Somali President is supporting an initiative of the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS), headed by Qaradawi, to mediate with groups opposed to his rule. According to the report:
Somali President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed threw his weight behind an initiative by the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS) to reconcile between Somali rivals. “I welcome the much-awaited mediation of the IUMS,” Sharif told a press conference on Thursday, February 5, in neighboring Djibouti. “The Muslim scholars can play a positive role in Somalia and can resolve disagreements between Somali groups.” Sheikh Sharif, the leader of the Islamic Courts Union, was elected Somali president on January 31. But his election drew fire from the Shebab group, once an off-shot of the ICU, and the Eritrea-based opposition, vowing war against Sharif’s regime. Fearing a new bout of infighting in Somalia, the IUMS, led by prominent scholar Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, has floated an initiative to mediate between the Somali rivals. “All Somalia should set aside all their political and tribal affiliations, which drove a wedge between them, close their ranks and look forwards for better future,” it said in a statement obtained by IslamOnline.net. “They should stand united under the banner of Islam.” Even-handed Sheikh Sharif Sheikh called on the Somali opposition groups to support the Muslim scholars’ reconciliation initiative.
An earlier post discussed support provided to President Ahmed as well as his likely ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.
One of President Ahmed’s opponents, a leader of the Islamic Party, was reported to have expressed skepticism about the IUMS initiative. According to a translated Al Jazeera broadcast:
Asked his position on Shaykh Yusuf al-Qaradawi’s initiative to mediate between the Islamic Party and President Shaykh Sharif, Imam says: “We appreciate the initiative by His Eminence Shaykh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who is the scholar of the Ummah. Everyone benefits from his knowledge. I have heard about this initiative from some people but I have not seen it. Still, I say that many scholars outside Somalia are not fully informed of the real situation.” These scholars should support the resistance to achieve its aims, he says.
(Source 1 BBC Monitoring Middle East – Political: Al-Jazeera TV, Doha, in Arabic 1430 gmt 17 Feb 09)