When Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, is brought up to most Americans (and westerners in general), the first image which springs to mind is the hideous spectacle of the bloodied corpse of U.S. Staff Sgt. William David Cleveland being dragged through the streets by supporters of Somali warlord Mohammed Aideed to the ecstatic cheering and jeering from a braying and ululating crowd. Jackal-like.
More specifically, when the subject of Somalia is raised, those of us who toil in the Jihadi muck veer in the direction of the multi-headed Islamic terror hydra Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen (حركة الشباب المجاهدين) – more commonly known as al-Shabaab, when unspeakable horrors are perpetrated in the region.
Briefly, it was founded in 2006 in East Africa. In 2012, its members pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda. Its ideology is based upon Salafi Jihadism, a/k/a Wahhabism, within Sunni Islam.
Under the aforementioned umbrella, westerners are led to believe that Somalia is a 100% Islamic country. Not exactly. Reportedly, 99.8% are Muslim, with the majority adhering to the Sunni branch of Islam. It goes without saying, Sharia Law is the law of the land – with all its barbaric underpinnings. Even so, minorities do exist. Christians comprise less than 0.1%, non-Somali ethnics practice animism, while less than 0.1% are Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, or unaffiliated with any religion.
Unsurprisingly, all is not as it seems – even more so, on the historical front. As Ben I. Aram writes:
“The history of Christianity is considered to be very brief and as such receives only cursory mention in many of the books surveying this subject for Africa.
Furthermore the story is often assumed to have begun just over a century ago, with the advent of modern western mission activity. However, evidence from three directions sheds light on the pre-Islamic Judaeo-Christian influence:
written records, archeological data and vestiges of Judaeo-Christian symbolism still extant within both traditional Somali culture and closely related ethnic groups. Together such data indicates that both Judaism and Christianity preceded Islam to the lowland Horn of Africa.11”
But not to be lost in the immensely intrinsic discussion about the real status of minorities in Somalia – with “the last two Jews of Mogadishu” in the forefront – Dr. Kobrin, a world-class psychoanalytic expert on suicide terrorism, analyzes its knock-on effects into western society – with a particular emphasis placed on Somalis within America, many of whom continue to pose a grave danger to national security.
Thus, it is against this backdrop of unremitting Islamic fire and fury within Somalia (yes, the bloodletting never wanes, despite the so-called homogeneous nature of the nation’s super-majority Sunni Muslim population) that Dr. Kobrin deftly introduces Rami and his mother Ashira – “the last two Jews of Mogadishu” – to the reader. At the same time, she exposes the region’s cauldron of hell.
Living like anusim (אֲנוּסִים….Jews who have been forced to abandon their faith throughout the centuries), mother and son practice Orthodox Judaism secretly at home, while publicly hiding “in the closet.”
Back in 2007, Dr. Kobrin began a three-year correspondence with nineteen-year-old Rami, a/k/a “Av M.” As she poignantly describes on page 14: “It is his nickname, short for Avraham and Mordechay, his last name and his father’s name, Shamul Mordechay. The letter “M” was also a play on the name of the city that he loved so much ‒ Mogadishu. However, in his later emails, Avraham shifted to calling himself “Rami,” the more intimate nickname he used, which is a shortened form of “rahamim,” Hebrew for mercy: Avraham – Av [father] + rahamim [mercy]. Hence, I also switched from Av to Rami.”
It was during the period of 2007-2010 that a flurry of emails were exchanged between the two. Infused with harrowing details re al-Shabaab’s rampages and world events, they are juxtaposed against “ordinary” life. Awe-inspiring and heart-rending.The following is emblematic:
Date: 17 May 2008, 17:00 PM
See tahay? maa ficaan tahat, waqt badan maan is maqlin [Som. We haven’t heard from each other for a long time] ,
Waan iska ficana nahay anaka, wax sas maku hayno, oo aan barwaaqo aheen,:)
[Som. We are fine, we have nothing to report but prosperity] tomorow lesson.
We heard rumors, that some jewish returned to yemen from israel, or my mother did, when she was in her younger days, but it was just rumor, we didn’t know.
Anyway, we are doing good, I will not write much today, because we have to save some gas, it has been a little bit hard finding gas now days, like two these days, and u can not trust the electricty, it of and on. about the food riot, it was terrible, it was not far from us, but it was scary, some even went in to house, and stole food, i mean only food, noting else, it was very supricing because u expect people to steal some value, but they just stole food.
and another good thing is, the ethiopian soldier, gave some food to poor people in Mogadishu, the money was from they pay check.
did u hear about this ? and the sad thing is, people were happy, but they were scared that the shabab will name those who went there, and they they will get punnishment, meaning assination, so the people who went there, had their face covered, like abaya, you know abaya?it is the ninja cloths or nikhab?? even the male wore some kind of face cover, because it was dangerous for them to go there without covering their face
It was amazing, we saw it on the news, I think hole Mogadishu stopped that day,
it was all over the tv and radio, some even said, it was somalis who is pretending to be Ethiopians, many theory and stories.
how was your shabat? our was ok, noting special, just normal. little bit sad about the chinese earthquake.
talk soon rami
As the reader fasts forward to April 10, 2010, Rami wrote:
Date: 8 April 2010, 8:01 PM
Salaan Qaali [Som. Greetings Dear].
Ayan my friend how are you?
I’m so happy to write you this email.
We are well. we are in yemen at the moment. In aden.
i will write you a longer email next time.
it is sign from hashem [Hebr. The Name, i.e. G-d], i remembered my secret question to this email account.
and now i’m in touch with you. again
Worryingly, despite repeated attempts through various channels, Dr. Kobrin never heard from Rami again. The very fact that he treasured the correspondence, promising, “I will write you a longer email next time“, does not bode well.
In the meanwhile, Rami’s bravery should serve as an example to the young, not so young, and those in between. Not only did he (and his mother) demonstrate that Judaism is an eternal light that can never be extinguished, but he “came out” as a Jew through a blog he started in 2007.
Greetings from Mogadishu: Just wanted to share my energy with the world, a normal
citizen of the world, http://avrahamshanshi.spot.co.il
Location: Mogadishu, Mogadishu
Introduction: A world citizen just like you
Fields of interest: Political, Jews, Music, tv Yemen, Somalia, teyman culture
Favorite movies: Rambo
Favorite music: Hindi, teyman music, Somali
Favorite books: i don’t think i have a favorite. i have read all my books.
Email at: [email protected]
A blogger since 2007
(Rami, if you see this – from one Jewish blogger to another – I salute you, and wish you and your mother nothing but safe passage!)
Above all else, The Last Two Jews of Mogadishu (Dr. Kobrin’s fifth book) is an exemplary and distinguished work of scholarship. It is infused with historical accuracy, as opposed to PC revisionism via sanitation. At the same time, the incomparable heroism and abiding faith of Rami and his mother Ashira – “the last two Jews of Mogadishu” – coupled with the humanity of the “good people” of Somalia, permeates its riveting pages.
Im nin’alu daltei n’divim daltei marom lo nin’alu
“Even if there is no mercy left in the world, the doors of heaven
will not be closed”
— Rabbi Shalom ben Yosef Shabazi
Adina Kutnicki is the co-author of BANNED: How Facebook Enables Militant Islamic Jihad (WND Books, September 2016). Her investigative work concentrates on Islamic Jihad and its western knock-on effects. She blogs at: Adina Kutnicki, A Zionist & Conservative Blog (www.adinakutnicki.com), and is a contributing author to several news sites. She is a consultant to a privately held Homeland Security entity.