Somali rebel leader urges fight against democracy

Thu Jun 24, 2010 5:39pm GMT

By Hussein Ali Noor

HARGEISA, Somalia (Reuters) - Islamist al Shabaab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane has urged Somalis to reject "the Devil's principles" of democracy, just several days ahead of elections in the breakaway Somaliland region.

"The reality is that democracy is something Allah made unlawful, and someone else cannot make it lawful," the reclusive leader, also known as Sheik Mukhtar Abdirahman, said.

"If people who are Muslims, who declare the name of Allah, argue that they are real Muslims but forget Allah's message, hang or arrest them, kill them by using ammunition."

Abu Zubeyr urged Muslims in an audio recording on the Internet to move away from areas that tried to build democracy.

The separatist republic of Somaliland -- which has sought international recognition as sovereign state -- is holding presidential elections on June 26.

The region has enjoyed relative peace and stability for nearly two decades -- while the rest of Somalia has had no functioning administration -- but is frustrated by the lack of international recognition as a sovereign state.

"If people fight ... till everyone is killed, that is much easier than legalising the devil's principles such as constitutions or making a ruler who governs against Allah's laws," he said.

Abu Zubeyr did not mention Somaliland specifically, but analysts said the timing of the message showed that it was intended to frighten people away from polling stations.   Continued...

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