An al Qaeda-allied terrorist organization is so annoyed with the “childish petulance” of a high-profile American recruit that it has taken to publicly admonishing him and apologizing to its terrorist comrades everywhere for his antics.
A self-identified spokesperson for al-Shabaab, a Somalia-based terror group, released a statement via Twitter Monday that is relentlessly critical of Alabama-born rapping jihadi Omar Hammami, also known as Abu Mansur al-Amriki, and assures everyone he holds no position of power in their anti-Western ranks.
“For months the Mujahideen [holy warriors] have been offering advice to Abu Mansur in private, without publicly rebuking him, employing every possible avenue to veil his faults, overlook his shortcomings and conceal the egregious errors he’d committed from the eyes of the Muslim Ummah [leadership]… It is regrettable, however, that all such efforts have been fruitless despite numerous attempts,” the statement says.
“We sincerely apologize to the Muslim Ummah in general and our Mujahideen brothers in all fields of Jihad in particular for having to witness such childish petulance,” it adds.
The statement claims Hammami repeatedly attempted to draw attention to himself and to “alleged voices of dissent within the ranks of the Mujahideen” at critical times in al-Shabaab’s losing fight against African troops in Somalia.
Hammami’s clashes with the al-Shabaab leadership have played out publicly online and apparently got so bad back in March that he uploaded a video in which he said he believed his life was in danger. A self-appointed spokesperson for al-Shabaab dismissed that claim at the time and the recent statement accuses Hammami of seeking fame.
Hammami first came to prominence by producing a series of pro-jihadi a capella rap videos and eventually wrote a lengthy memoir about his path to jihad. He was rumored to have been killed several times, but each time came back with a new, poorly-produced rap video taunting the American government.
Hammami’s father, Shafik, told ABC News today he was aware of the reported problems between his son and the al-Shabaab leadership and said he worries deeply for his son’s safety. Shafik hasn’t spoken to his son in years and Hammami’s mother, Debra, told ABC News in May that was the worst part.
“The silence has been devastating,” she said. “I don’t agree with [his] ideology of any of that, but I do love my son and I do have that motherly love.”
Last month the FBI officially added Hammami to its Most Wanted list. He was originally indicted in the U.S. in terrorism-related charges in 2007 and faces additional charges in a superseding 2009 indictment.
The FBI calls Hammami a “leader” of al-Shabaab and the State Department referred to him as “an important al-Shabaab voice on the internet” – two claims the al-Shabaab spokesperson was hoping to dispel.
“…Contrary to the portrait of the grand strategist, recruiter and fund-raiser portrayed by the Western media, Abu Mansur al-Amriki does not hold any position of authority within [al-Shabaab],” it says. “The Jihadi theatre nevertheless accommodates people of all sorts.”