JOHANNESBURG, 20 October 2009 (Somalilandpress) – “Somali’s in Khayelitsha and other informal settlements in South Africa are more worried about Survival and Xenophobia-but not terrorism” Saeed Furaa.
I respond to recent unconfirmed media reports that published allegations made by Prof Hussein Solomon, head of the International Institute of Islamic Studies in Pretoria discrediting the Somali Community in South Africa by linking them to terrorism.
Prof. Solomon claimed that Somali “militants” had already established terror cells in South Africa, ahead of the 2010 World Cup and linked the National Intelligence Agency’s recent interception of a telephone call, reportedly made from Khayelitsha, to a supposed Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Shabaab extremist group in Somalia, which reportedly discussed a plot to blow up American interests in South Africa.
As a Somali national in South Africa, let me make it clear that we have been living under imminent threats from local communities where we conduct small businesses. We fear that with these baseless claims we could be singled out as targets by xenophobic elements. Lorna Daniels spokesperson for the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), comment on this report as devoid of truth and questions should be asked about why “information peddlers” were trying to create needless “hysteria” on the matter. That was the view of Lorna Daniels, spokesperson for the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), speaking to VOC’s Drivetime on Tuesday.
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I challenge Professor Solomon to present concrete evidence to substantiate his claims as an academic. Otherwise, I’m afraid that we could see the return of horrible events of last year’s inhuman xenophobic attacks which left many foreigners dead and thousands displaced. For the past ten years, more than 700 Somalis have been brutally killed in South Africa, according to the Somali Community Board of South Africa.
It is my respectful submission that the publications though serving a major national issue (if it exists) has the irreversible potential of furthering the divisions which exists between foreigners and South Africans.
On the other side, any attempt to disturb the 2010 Soccer World Cup smoothness not undermines the spirit of South African citizens, but also African renaissance, Pan Africanism and this continent’s unity, development and co-operation. Indeed 2010 is a great event which we as Africans from Cape to Cairo, from Somalia to South Africa, have been anticipating.
I am not only setting out my discontent with how the media carelessly went about publishing the article without having regard to what the information may cause. It is further my view that to have a proper and meaningful conversation about this matter is to keep it the relevant department, NIS. The assertion thereby made by media house is that the public has a right with a corresponding duty to know about these things we do not have to quarrel about the sensitivity or lack of sensitivity thereof. It is also true that most Somalis who are currently in South Africa are here to pursue business opportunities and they are thriving at that.
The media houses in publishing the article, which evidently is without merit undermines the security issues faced by thousands of Somali’s currently residing in South Africa.
Written by: Saeed Furaa
Saeed Furaa : is a freelance journalist, university student based in Johannesburg, South Africa.