Al-Shabab threat ‘disgusting’ says leader of Edmonton’s Somali community
Global News — EDMONTON — Edmonton’s large Somali community is “disgusted” and “insulted” to be mentioned in a recent video allegedly released by Somali-based extremist group Al-Shabab.
“This group is known to have caused a lot of destruction and death back in Somalia,” said Jibril Ibrahim, the president of the Somali Canadian Cultural Society of Edmonton. “They are despised both inside and outside [of Somalia].”
“This is kind of an act of desperation on their side,” he added.
“Mentioning our name in one of the threats they are making is kind of disgusting and an insult to our community.”
The video, posted Saturday to a YouTube account allegedly linked to Al-Shabab, encourages an attack on West Edmonton Mall. The more than hour-long video discusses the September 2013 attack by the al Qaeda-linked terror group at a Kenya mall that lasted days and left more than 60 people dead.
In the video’s last few minutes, a man with his face covered speaks in perfect English, appealing for the viewer to “imagine” the scope of destruction possible. He then lists shopping malls that could be targets, including the Mall of America and West Edmonton Mall.
“We call on our Muslim brothers, particularly those in the West, to answer the call of Allah and target the disbelievers,” says the man in the video. “The disbelievers have no right whatsoever to rejoice in the safety of their lands until safety becomes a reality in Palestine and all the lands of Islam.”
The video has yet to be authenticated by any major law enforcement agency, but the RCMP is aware of the threats made against the mall in the video and is investigating.
“There is no evidence at this time of any specific or imminent threat to Canadians,” RCMP Staff Sgt. Brent Meyer said Sunday morning. “We take any threat to our country’s national security very seriously.”
Ibrahim says the Somali community in Edmonton has been working with police and spoke with them Sunday. The EPS said all threats against public safety are taken very seriously but that there is no imminent threat to Edmontonians or Canadians.
“The discussion that we had with the police department is that we also have to do our best to take whatever precautions that we need to take,” said Ibrahim. “On the community level, we’re doing our best to make sure that no inappropriate activity takes place.”
“We share information within the community and the police. We work together on two fronts. When they hear something they let us know. When we hear something, we let them know as well.”
The Somali Canadian Cultural Society of Edmonton website states Canada is home to one of the largest Somali populations in the Western world, with as many as 20,000 Somalians living in Edmonton.
Edmonton mayor Don Iveson released a statement saying Edmontonians should feel confident the city is safe, and people should not overreact. He also said it’s “equally concerning to hear the appeal directed toward a specific group.”
“For this kind of group to come out and use our name here in Edmonton is kind of insulting,” echoed Ibrahim. “We don’t anticipate anybody acting on any threat from those kinds of groups.”
“All the Somalis from our community from Edmonton, Alberta are hard-working people.
“They are part of the fabric and trying to make Canada the best place. They’re not here to try to cause damage to anyone.”
University of Alberta political science professor Tom Butko feels people should balance vigilance with calm.
“This is a serious situation, but at the end of the day, I think people need to take that vigilance but also realize that they need to live their lives and not let fear encompass everything.
“The terrorists win and that’s really true if we’re living our lives in fear.”
(Source: Global News)