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Blame US, Western ideals for al-Shabab, Boko Haram terror scourge - Dr. Akbar Muhammad

A key figure of the Nation of Islam, an Islamic religious movement, has rejected suggestions that terrorism is fuelled by Islamic philosophy.

Dr Akbar Muhammad is of the view that activities of terrorists groups such as Boko Haram and al-Shabab are incited by United States influence and Western ideals.
Responding to the questions about the rising terrorist activities in Africa on Metro TV's Good Evening Ghana on Thursday, Dr Muhammad said al-Shabab for instance come into existence in response to manipulation of oil reserves in Somalia by the United States.
Al-Shabab attacked the Westgate Shopping mall in Kenya in September killing more than 70 people and wounding dozens.
The group said they carried out the attacks in retaliation to Kenya's military deployment in Somalia.
Dr Muhammed, who is also a history professor, suggested that United States caused the overthrow of Somali former President Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991 in order to manipulate the large oil reserves found in the country by petroleum giant Chevron.
The history professor said to protect their interest, the United States ensured that Somalia remained a failed state.
Subsequently, according to him, the USA "used the excuse that people were suffering to send American soldiers in there [Somalia] but the Somalians beat them back...and the American government decided to pull the soldiers out", he narrated.
He said after the country had become a failed state, Chevron then begun its oil explorations.
But he said the activities of Chevron started threatening the livelihoods.
"The [Somalis] couldn't make money to take care of their children so they got involved in the hijacking of ships", he continued.
 He described al-Shabab as a "people who feel they have to take their dignity [even as ] they live in a failed state and their under attack".
He said the West were against any country that has as Islam as its base, and would do anything to destabilise them - citing Egypt, under Mohammed Morsi as another case in point.
The Boko Haram fumble
It was not clear whether the Nation of Islam key figure was condoning the activities of Boko Haram or not, but he failed to denounce the terrorist group.
"I don't have enough knowledge to denounce them", he told show host, Paul Adom Otchere.
He explained further, "see, I am not in the business of denouncing. I have to learn more about them. I cannot depend on the Western press".
Dr Muhammed was in agreement with Boko Haram on the 'indecency' of Western Ideals, although this was not stated expressly.
However, he remained resolute in his refusal to pass judgement on the Nigeria-based Islamist group, explaining that he would have to hear their side of the story first.
Based in the north of Nigeria, Boko Haram aims to put a stop to Western ideals in the country and install sharia law.
The group has attacked Christians, burned down their churches, attacked schools and police stations.
According to available statistics, Boko Haram insurgency has resulted in an estimated 10,000 deaths between 2001 and 2013 and roughly 3,600 killed, including 1,600 civilians between 2009 and 2013.
But Dr Muhammed is certain "the press does not report their [Boko Haram] side."
"I wish I could, but I know there is another side to the story that we are not seeing", he defended.

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