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Al-Shabaab touts its Ramadan social services

August 6, 2013

Aiming to build its credentials as a charity, the terrorist group al-Shabaab has posted staged photos online of food and money that it claims to have distributed to Somali villagers during Ramadan.

Youngsters look doubtful after guerrillas give them money

Notice that only the smallest child looks happy

Do you really think al-Shabaab’s gunmen are going to hand out wads of cash to Somali children and allow them to walk back to their huts to give it to their parents?

Somalia Newsroom explains:

…Amid the likely competition between al-Shabaab factions over support from local communities, forces loyal to top leader Ahmed Abdi Godane continue efforts to “win hearts and minds.” In photos published online, al-Shabaab can be seen giving cash handouts to poor families in Galhareeri (Galgaduud region)–with children serving as the recipient to optimize perceptions of the group’s charity.

In the Lower Shabelle town of Qoryooley, al-Shabaab’s dawa activities involved handing out sacks of food to the community.

Other photos of Qoryooley showed ongoing construction, social services, and steady life. The intent perhaps is to highlight the apparent normalcy of the town in contrast with the alternating pivot of recovery and instability in Mogadishu (of which al-Shabaab is a major but not sole contributor)…

These efforts are similar to those of Hamas, IHH, Qatar Charity, RIHS, JuD, and a dozen Saudi-backed Islamic relief agencies that spread radical Islamist medicine with a spoonful of charitable sugar worldwide.

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