“Today, we remind the Muslims that the caliphate [Islamic rule] shall soon be reborn,” he says in the audio recording posted on an Al-Shabab-affiliated website and obtained by the SITE Intelligence Group, which tracks terrorists’ online activities.
“May Allah accept our dear beloved sheikh and cause our swords to become instruments of his avenging. Oh Muslims do not slack in going after the people. If you feel pain, they too feel pain as you feel pain.”
The son of a Southern Baptist mother and a Syrian father, Hammami, 27, grew up in Alabama and moved in 2004 to Toronto, where he married a Somali-Canadian and was recruited into Islamist extremist ideology.
Since arriving in Somalia, he has posted scores of videos on the Internet urging Western Muslim youths to join Al-Shabab, a Taliban-like armed group trying to impose its backward version of Islamic law on Somalis.
On March 29, police arrested another Toronto man at Pearson airport as he was allegedly leaving Canada to join Al-Shabab. Mohamed Hassan Hersi, 25, faces two terrorism-related charges but was released on bail.
Officials say up to 20 young Canadians have already travelled to Somalia to join Al Shabab, which Canada outlawed as a terrorist organization last year after it began aggressively recruiting Somali-Canadians.
The group, whose name means The Youth in Arabic, is notorious for its suicide bombings, including two that killed more than 70 people watching World Cup soccer last year in the Ugandan capital, Kampala.
There was speculation in March that Hammami was dead after Somalia’s defence minister said unconfirmed intelligence reports suggested he was killed in fighting around Mogadishu. But he resurfaced in April in an online video in which he sings about jihad and martyrdom.
In his latest eight-minute speech, Hammami, dressed in a camouflage vest, says “we announce to America and to the world that sheikh Osama bin Laden kindled the fire of jihad decades ago and in effect resistance is now of little value.”
It is the latest of many bold threats that jihadists have posted online since the U.S. strike that killed bin Laden in Pakistan on May 1. Western security officials are bracing for possible retaliatory attacks, since al-Qaeda and its affiliates may want to demonstrate they can survive the death of the terrorist boss.
“Al-Qaeda has been compared to the archetypal shark in the water that must keep moving forward — no matter how slowly or incrementally — or die,” Professor Bruce Hoffman wrote in the latest edition of the CTC Sentinel, the journal of the Combating Terrorism Centre at West Point.
“Whether al-Qaeda can in fact do so, and thereby prove that it can survive its founder and leader’s demise, is surely the most pressing question of the moment.”
Stewart Bell, National Post · May 13, 2011 | Last Updated: May 13, 2011 8:05 AM ET
- Somali terror leader vows revenge for bin Laden (news.nationalpost.com)
- US militant vows to avenge bin Laden’s death (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Al Qaeda launches women’s magazine that mixes fashion tips and violence (arcanaintellego.wordpress.com)
- US militant vows to avenge bin Laden’s death (foxnews.com)
- Pakistan Blasts Kill 80 to Avenge bin Laden Death (time.com)
- Somali Militants Vow to Avenge Killing of bin Laden – Voice of America (news.google.com)
- American Shabaab commander speaks at rally for Osama bin Laden in Somalia (longwarjournal.org)
- 20 Canadians have joined Somali terror group: official (nationalpost.com)
- About 20 young Somali-Canadians have joined Somali terror group Al-Shabab. (somaliswisstv.com)
- 20 Canadians have joined Somalian terror group: official (nationalpost.com)