Fighting al-Qaeda with Hip-Hop

Even by the evil standards of other al-Qaeda franchises, the thugs in al-Shabaab are extreme.   Killing, intimidation, piracy and extortion are all in a day’s work for these people.  But there are those in Somalia and Kenya that refuse to back down.  

From the Guardian:

Shine Ali doesn’t scare easily. If he did, he would not be with his band in a basement studio in Nairobi, rapping lyrics that challenge the Islamist rebels who control much of his homeland, Somalia – and whose reach extends deep into the Kenyan capital.

Ali is well aware of the risks he is running. Three years ago, members of the al-Shabaab group broke into his home in Nairobi’s Eastleigh neighbourhood and shot him.

“They said, ‘Your message is anti-jihad. You are telling the youth to give up jihad,'” the 29-year-old says in halting English. Ali edges down his baggy checked shorts, pulls up his hooded sweatshirt and shows a scar on his right hip. He has another one on his left arm.

“When they shot me, I knew that if I stopped the music, they would win but if I continued, my power would win.”

Ali is a founding member of Waayaha Cusub, an 11-member hip-hopgroup that includes Somalis, Kenyans, an Ethiopian and a Ugandan.

The band is, in its composition, a defiant challenge to the al-Qaida-linked rebels of al-Shabaab and to the thorny political realities of the Horn of Africa.

Read the rest here.


Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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