Canadian former refugees are fighting among all factions in Somalia. From the National Post:
TORONTO – Somalia has long been one of Canada’s top sources of refugees. Between 1989 and 2006, it ranked fourth after Sri Lanka, Pakistan and China.
About 150,000 ethnic Somalis now live in Canada, the largest population outside Africa, according to a federal report released under the Access to Information Act.
Many Canadian Somalis, particularly those over age 30, maintain close ties to Somalia, said Ahmed Hussen, president of the Canadian Somali Congress.
“They will open businesses in their area, they will go and serve in political office for their clan, they might even fight for their militia,” Mr. Hussen said.
Canadians are active in all three major warring factions in Somalia: the Transitional Federal Government, Al-Shabab and the Sufigroup Ahlu Sunna Wal Jama.
Somalia’s interim prime minister, Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke, is a 49-year-old Canadian who studied political science at Carleton University in Ottawa.
At the same time, the al-Qaeda-linked Al-Shabab, which is fighting to overthrow the government and impose Taliban-like extremist rule, has been recruiting Canadians, one of whom was reported killed this week.
Somali Canadians are also active in a relatively new player in Somalia’s seemingly never-ending armed conflict: Ahlu Sunna Wal Jama, a Sufi Muslim group that took up arms last year to fight Al-Shabab.
Edmonton taxi driver Sharaf Ali is an Ahlu Sunna supporter. He served on the board of directors of the United Cabbies Association of Edmonton and has debated Somali issues on the local campus radio station CJSR.
In January, some Canadian Somalis said they were shocked when photos appeared on the Internet showing Mr. Ali at the aftermath of a skirmish between Ahlu Sunna fighters and Al-Shabab militants.
“In Edmonton, most of the Somalis who are in Canada, not most of them but a lot of them, they are kind of pro-Al Shabab, unfortunately, and I don’t know why, these people are causing chaos situation in Somalia and they are linked to al-Qaeda.”
The government report, by Canada’s Integrated Threat Assessment Centre, said the doctrine of al-Qaeda and Al-Shabab has little appeal among Canadian Somalis, who are predominantly Sufi moderates. [So much for government reports!]
What should Canada do? If they leave the country they don’t come back—dead or alive. It is that simple.