Canada Lists Al Shabaab as Terrorist Group

Published: March 10th 2010

Omar Hammami, a leader of Al-Shabab with Toronto ties.
Pic: youtube

On March 5, the government of Canada announced that it was designating Al Shabaab as a terrorist group.


“This Government will not tolerate terrorism and is determined that terrorist groups do not receive support from Canadian sources,” said Minister Toews. “Listing this group is another example of the decisive action needed to make Canada’s communities safe.  Canada is once again showing vigilance in the global fight against terrorism.”


Al Shabaab is a Somali insurgent group that has ties to al-Qaeda whose members are mainly young men. Shabaab means “youth” in Arabic. The group currently commands a large section of Somalia, including parts of capital Mogadishu.


The CBC reported that the Stratfor intelligence company estimates that Al Shabaab combatants number between 6,000 and 7,000.


The group came to the attention of the public after claims began surfacing that it was recruiting youths from Canada’s sizeable Somali community to fight back home.


The government decided to list the group as a terrorist organization because it met the definition as provided in Canada’s criminal code as well as to protect Canadians from the organization’s recruiting and radicalization attempts inside Canada.


“The listing of Al Shabaab will help the Government of Canada to better support the Somali community of Canada,” the government said in a statement. “The objective of this listing is to help combat terrorist activities, including impeding terrorist financing.”


In 2008, Sheik Muktar Robow, a leader of Al Shabaab, told the Los Angeles Times that his organization was speaking with al-Qaeda about a plan to "unite into one.” He added that Al Shabaab was prepared to be lead by Osama bin Laden. "al-Qaeda is the mother of the holy war in Somalia,” he stated.


There are also claims by Al Shabaab that many of their leaders were given training in al-Qaeda camps or spent time with Bin Laden.


The listing will prohibit all Canadians and all residents of Canada from having anything to do with assets owned or controlled by Al Shabaab. As well, it will be illegal to participate or contribute to certain activities involving the organization.


In January, leaders of Toronto’s Somali community issued a joint declaration condemning Al Shabaab’s recruitment in Toronto. To read Shalom Life’s coverage, click here.


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