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Abdiqasim and Ali Mahdi: One is With the Courts’Delegation; The Other is a Target

Former Somali Presidents: Ali Mahdi and Abdiqasim Salad " Why one is so close to the Islamic Courts and the other is a papoose"

By Abukar Y. Sanei


Having Abdiqasim on board with the Court's delegation to Libya, and forcing Ali Mahdi to leave his car maybe another hint that gives where the Islamic Court's direction is heading. But before we go further, let's compare and give a brief information about the two figures. 


Dr. Abdiqasim Salad Hassan, to begin with, had been recruited by the head of the Communist dictatorship regime, Mohamed Siad Barre after his father was killed by in a clan battle. He started his career as an employee to several institutions as he held some ministerial positions, too. In the last years of the dictatorship system, Mr. Salad Hassan was serving as the Interior Minister, and the deputy of the Prime Minister. One interesting thing has taken place by the time he was the Interior minister: He offered a pledge of 5,000,000 Somali Shillings reward for anyone who captures any member of United Somali Congress (USC), which was emulous to the Barre’s regime and committed to overthrow him.  Nevertheless, in January 27, 1991, the USC succeeded to reach its goal and to overthrow the dictator regime. However, Abdiqasim did not despair his desire to be in part of the Somali’s political games. In August 2000, he ran to the presidency position in the reconciliation conference, which was held in Arta, Djibouti.

With the support of several civil society organizations, however, Dr. Abdiqasim won the election, and became the second president after Ali Mahdi Mohamed. The interim government of Mr. Salad Hassan was named as Transitional National Government (TNG). During his presidency, even though he was an exile in Djibouti, he gained a wide recognition from the international community.


Ali Mahdi Mohamed, on the other hand, has a political and social service background. His political service has started during the Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke’s regime. He was elected as a representative from the Middle Shabelle region for the Somali Parliament, and his term of service as MP began in 1968. For instance, Mr. Mahdi has held civil service positions, and he worked for the Ministry of Health. Nevertheless, Mr. Mahdi’s career has changed for a while from a politician to businessman, and he became successful in his business profession. In the late 1980s, Mr. Ali Mahdi combined his political and business profession. He became the leading pioneer of the Manifesto group, who challenged the regime that ruled the country for 21 years. Moreover, during the USC’s resistance against the ruling Communist Party, Mr. Mahdi was the key factor of the USC’s victory against the dictator regime, as he was the financial supporter for the United Somali Congress.  In the Djibouti’s conference of 1991, Mr. Ali Mahdi was elected as the Somali president, but in November 1991, he faced a bitter battle with the late Mohamed Farah Aideed, whose scheme was to overthrow Ali Mahdi. After the elections of the Arta conference in Djibouti, which was the outcome of Abdiqasim, Mr. Mahdi relinquished from his political activism, and devoted to his own business.


These are the brief information of both Ali Mahdi and Abdiqasim, but why one is so close to the Islamic Courts and the other is a papoose, and the overall direction of the Courts, however, deserve to be discussed and evaluated by everyone who is ebullient to Somali’s contemporary issues. Before the episode that Mr. Ali Mahdi encountered in last Saturday, Sep. 9th, that he was humiliated and ordered to leave his car, some actions of the Islamic Courts were not sympathetic. However,  there is no way that Abdiqasim can be closer to the Courts than Ali Mahdi. One may argue that Ali Mahdi was an antagonist against the Islamic Courts, which was led by Sheikh Ali Dheere in 1996, but that argument should not give Abdiqasim a credibility of being a right hand or a close adviser, if you will, to Col. Aweys. In his term of presidency, Dr. Abdiqasim was not calling for implementation of Shari’a in Somalia, and his constitution was not from the Holy Qur’an or the tradition of Prophet Mohamed [pbuh]. However, whatever this newly relationship between the

Courts and Abdiqasim might be, I don’t think that Abdiqasim has the same version of Islam that Mr. Aweys is using for his implementation of the Islamic Law in Somalia.

There are couple of points that I should suggest, and conclude in this short essay: There is no way to accept for attacking Ali Mahdi, and forcing him to leave his car. For instance, Ali Mahdi can be described as the hero of the political revolution, which challenged the dictatorship regime in the late 1980s. And without the help of Allah [swt] and without the efforts of Mr. Mahdi, there would not be what is called Islamic Courts today. In addition, humiliating Ali Mahdi or targeting him will not keep the peace and security that Mogadishu people are enjoying after the dismissal of the thugs of warlords. Ousting those warlords, who kept the Mogadishu people a hostage for the last sixteen years, was an excellent job that the Islamic Courts and its people in Mogadishu have accomplished. Therefore, let the Islamic Courts and Mogadishu residents keep the benefit of this success. The Islamic Courts and its leaders must make their priority for avoiding any action or decisions that may create sensitive issues, which eventually lead hostilities and conflicts, which only Allah knows when they will end. Let the Islamic Courts keep in mind that people are still sensitive to the issues that are related to their clans.


The final point that I would suggest is that the leadership of the Islamic Courts, especially Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys must issue an apology statement, and distance the Courts and its leaders from what happened last Saturday to Mr. Ali Mahdi. In addition to the apology statement, the gunman that confronted Mr. Ali Mahdi must be upbraided, and suspended his service for a while. By taking these actions, the Islamic Courts will be able to show respect to the well-known, and peace advocate figures, like Ali Mahdi and the public as well. That is the pure Islam, and that is the way that the prophet of Islam had dealt with leaders whether they were Muslims or non-Muslims.



Abukar Y. Sanei

[email protected]



The opinions contained in this article are solely those of the writer, and in no way, form or shape represent the editorial opinions of "Hiiraan Online"

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