Goal: Stop the implementation of a ban against Islamic Relief’s presence in Southern Somalia
Aid group Oxfam has recently stated that food and water shortages are currently at dangerous levels in Southern Somalia, and growing only worse as harvests are poor and food prices continue to rise. A survey was conducted of over 1,800 homes within recent months, with three-quarters of participants stating that they doubt they will have enough to eat within the next several months, and 42% of those people already having to regularly forego meals. Despite the fact that Oxfam thinks it unlikely for the country to fall back to the levels of famine that it experienced last year, the rates of malnutrition found there are nonetheless cause for serious concern.
Now, in a recent development for the worse, militant Islamist group al-Shabaab has declared a ban on the British-registered aid group Islamic Relief. Al-Shabaab controls large rural portions of south-central Somalia where it has imposed Sharia Law and declared jihad against its enemies. They recently created a Twitter account, through which this recent ban was announced. The Islamic Relief group provides food, water, health care, and income support to 1.3 million people in Somalia under the Organization of the Islamic Conference. Few organizations have been allowed to operate there, and the new ban will severely affect many people’s ability to survive.
Al-Shabaab claims that the ban is based on the fact that Islamic Relief has been working with the United Nations’ World Food Program. Islamic Relief says this claim is untrue and that they hold only humanitarian goals with their presence in Southern Somalia. Islamic Relief must be allowed to continue its work for those in need, and Al-Shabaab needs to understand the severity of not allowing them to do so. Demand that al-Shabaab not enforce this ban, and is made to see that the World Food Program is not attempting to interfere in their work. Innocent lives are at stake, and they should not be made to suffer because of this misconception.
You recently declared a ban on the Islamic Relief group under the justification that it has been working with the United Nations’ World Food Program against your wishes. Islamic Relief does not have any association with the World Food Program, and regional director Iftikhar Shaheen himself states that their goals are “purely humanitarian.”
Southern Somalia is suffering from great hunger, and the potential for innocent lives to become devastated as a result of your ban is unfair to those people who have no part in your conflict and are no enemies of Islam. They are merely attempting to survive under already meager conditions, and for them to suffer because of your misconception about an aid group is unfortunate, to say the least.
Please, do not enforce this ban. Islamic Relief functions under the Organization of the Islamic Conference and their work is of vital importance. Allow them to continue to operate within your controlled territories, for the sake of innocent lives.
[Your Name Here]