Omar Shafik Hammami

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Abu Mansoor Al-Amriki (born Omar Shafik Hammami)
File:Al-Amriki1.jpg
screen shot from al-Shabaab's propaganda video
Born 6 May 1984 (1984-05-06) (age 38)
Daphne, Alabama, U.S.
Religion Sunni Islam

Omar Shafik Hammami (born 6 May 1984)[1], known by the pseudonym Abu Mansoor Al-Amriki, is an American member of the Somali Islamist militant group al-Shabaab.[2]

Early life

Hammami grew up in Daphne, Alabama where he graduated from Daphne High School.[3] His father was a Syrian-born Muslim, while his mother was an American Southern Baptist with Irish roots.[4] Hammami began to identify as a Muslim in high school and over time grew increasingly religious, becoming a Salafi in college.[5] He was once Muslim Students' Association President at the University of South Alabama.[6] He dropped out of college in 2002, and in 2004 he moved to Toronto, Canada, where he married a Somali-Canadian woman.[7]

In June 2005, the couple moved to Alexandria, Egypt, where their daughter was born.[7] Through an internet forum, Hammami met Daniel Maldonado, who was also living in Egypt, and the two secretly made plans to leave for Somalia. Without telling his family, Hammami traveled to Somalia in November 2006 and apparently joined al-Shabaab soon after.

Jihadist activities in Somalia

In October 2007, he appeared publicly as "Abu Mansoor Al-Amriki" for the first time, giving an interview for Al Jazeera.[5] In a January 2008 letter, Al-Amriki explained al-Shabaab’s goal to establish an Islamic caliphate “from East to West after removing the occupier and killing the apostates.”[8]

In 2007, Hammami was indicted in the Southern District of Alabama on terrorism violations. A superseding indictment was returned against Hammami in 2009 on terrorism violations for leaving the United States to join al-Shabaab. On 13 December 2007, a federal warrant for his arrest was issued by the United States District Court, Southern District of Alabama.[1]

He was featured in a 31-minute video released March 31, 2009, and in recruitment footage posted to a Somali terrorist website on 5 April 2009, saying “The only reason we are staying here, away from our families, away from the cities, away from candy bars [and] all these other things is because we are waiting to meet with the enemy…If you can encourage more of your children, and more of your neighbors, and anyone around you to send people … to this Jihad, it would be a great asset for us”.[3] In the video, al-Amriki talks about preparations for an ambush and his attempt to “try to blow up as many of their vehicles as we can and kill as many of them as we can.” After the ambush, al-Amriki praises a killed fighter.[9] American authorities have claimed that other Somali-Americans from Minnesota also appear in the video released on March 31. One of the Americans that was apparently featured in the video is Shirwa Ahmed, who was among four people to carry out suicide attacks against the United Nations compound, the Ethiopian Consulate and the presidential palace in Hargeisa.[10] The two videos indicated that he had become a prominent figure for al-Shabaab in its effort to recruit Muslims in the West to Jihad.

On 8 July 2009, an audio message from Abu Mansur al-Amriki was released on jihadi websites. Billed as a "response" to U.S. president Barack Obama's June 2009 Cairo speech to "the Muslim world," the audio message warned Muslims against being taken in by Obama's "charisma."[11] In the message, al-Amriki also affirmed al-Shabaab’s allegiance to Al Qaeda and justified the 9/11 terror attacks.[10]

In December 2011 Mansour Nasser al Bihani, a Yemeni who US intelligence officials believed had been trained in small arms and explosives at Afghan training camps, and served under Osama bin Laden, was killed.[2] The Long War Journal reported "al Bihani trained Shabaab's fighters, including Omar Hammami, an American who serves as a Shabaab commander, propagandist, and recruiter."

Reports of death

In March 2011, Somalian government sources reported that Hammami had been killed during fighting in Mogadishu.[12][13] Somali Defense Minister Abdihakim Mohamoud Haji-Faqi subsequently told The Associated Press that Somali officials did not have a body and that the intelligence reports had not yet been confirmed.[14]

The Long War Journal reported on March 15 that Hammami had not been killed as earlier claimed by Somali's defense minister.[15] Hammami subsequently released an Anasheed song, mocking the claims of his death and taunting the United States to send Predator drones and missiles in order to make him a martyr.[16]

In July 2011, it was reported that Hammami had possibly been killed in a Predator attack in Jubba, Somalia,[17] although he surfaced in March 2012 in a video claiming that his life may be in danger from Al-Shabaab, arising from a dispute over interpretations of Sharia law.[18] Al Shabaab denied this, saying that it was surprised by the video and that Al-Amriki "still enjoys all the privileges of brotherhood." The group added that it was attempting to verify "the authenticity as well as the motivations behind the video" and that a formal investigation is underway. An audio lecture by Hammami posted online on May 25 may provide insights into his apparent rift with Al Shabaab. In the 45-minute lecture, originally posted online in January but quickly removed, he criticized jihadist organizations with a local focus, likening them to a “cancerous tumor.” He also calls for all Muslims to unite in a “jihad of the entire Ummah [Muslim nation]” under the banner of restored Caliphate. [19]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Wanted by the FBI – Omar Shafik Hammami". Federal Bureau of Investigation. http://www.fbi.gov/wanted/alert/omar-shafik-hammami. Retrieved 26 April 2011. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Thomas Joscelyn (30 December 2011). "Son of infamous al Qaeda family killed by Ethiopian forces". Long War Journal. Archived from the original on 27 August 2012. http://www.webcitation.org/query?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.longwarjournal.org%2Farchives%2F2011%2F12%2Fson_of_infamous_al_q.php&date=2012-08-27. Retrieved 27 August 2012. "Al Bihani traveled to Somalia to fight alongside Shabaab, al Qaeda's affiliate in the Horn of Africa. Once in Somalia, al Bihani trained Shabaab's fighters, including Omar Hammami, an American who serves as a Shabaab commander, propagandist, and recruiter. Al Bihani was subsequently killed in a clash with American forces off the coast of Somalia." 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Who is al-Amriki?". Fox News. 4 September 2009. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,546510,00.html. Retrieved 5 September 2009. 
  4. "American militant in Somalia craves fast food, misses family". DAWN. AFP. 17 May 2012. http://dawn.com/2012/05/17/american-militant-in-somalia-craves-fast-food-misses-family/. Retrieved 22 September 2012. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 Elliott, Andrea (27 January 2010). "The Jihadist Next Door". New York Times Magazine. Archived from the original on 4 February 2010. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/31/magazine/31Jihadist-t.html?hp=&pagewanted=all. Retrieved January 28, 2010. 
  6. Stakelbeck, Eric (3 May 2011). "Jihad Street USA: Closer Look at Domestic Terror". CBN. http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/us/2011/April/Jihad-Street-USA-Closer-Look-at-Domestic-Terror/. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 Goddard, John (4 January 2010). "Fanatic convert to terrorism spent year in Toronto". Toronto Star. Archived from the original on 7 January 2010. http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/article/745524--fanatic-convert-to-terrorism-spent-year-in-toronto. Retrieved 1 February 2010. 
  8. "8 January 2008". The unjust media. 8 January 2008. http://theunjustmedia.com/Islamic%20Perspectives/Feb%202008/A%20Message%20to%20the%20Mujahideen%20in%20Particular%20&%20the%20Muslims%20in%20general.htm. Retrieved 3 April 2012. 
  9. Anti-Defamation League: "Somali Terrorist Group Releases Recruitment Video Featuring ‘the American’" 2 April 2009
  10. 10.0 10.1 Anti-Defamation League: “Profile: Omar Hammami” 9 February 2010
  11. Cole, Matthew (9 July 2009). "American Jihadist Attacks Obama in Extremist Audio Tape". ABC news. http://www.abcnews.go.com/Blotter/story?id=8041575&page=1. Retrieved 7 August 2009. 
  12. Somali Official: American Militant Reported Killed – ABC News, 8 March 2011
  13. American Fighting for Somali Terror Group Records Jihad Rap, Gives His Mom Hope – Fox News, 12 April 2011
  14. [1]
  15. By Bill Roggio (10 April 2011). "American Shabaab commander Omar Hammami releases tape that mocks reports of his death". The Long War Journal. http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2011/04/american_shabaab_com.php. Retrieved 3 April 2012. 
  16. Alabama-Born Al Qaeda Spokesman, Reported Dead, Releases More Hip Hop Tracks – ABC News, 12 April 2011
  17. Mohamed, Faud "Kenya enhances airport security" Sunatimes, 8 July 2011, accessed 10 July 2011
  18. "Abu Mansur Al Amriki, U.S. Jihadi In Somalia, Reportedly Claims Comrades Want To Kill Him (VIDEO)". Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/17/abu-mansur-al-amriki-video_n_1355387.html. Retrieved 3 April 2012. 
  19. Anti-Defamation League, "Alabama Jihadist Omar Hammami Resurfaces Online" 23 May 2012

External links