OPINION: Siad Barre, Somalia’s Secular Dictator… And Ilhan Omar4 min read
The Islamic world has been very unfortunate that, after defeating European colonialism, it harvested a set of “postcolonial” leaders who just continued the modernizing agenda. The only difference being the skin-tone.
One such person the faithful peoples of Somalia had to endure from 1969 to 1991 (he himself died in 1995): General Siad Barre and his “Somali Democratic Republic.”
He was kicked out on the 26 of January 1991, so around 31 years ago.
It’s thus a good moment to look at the legacy of this General Barre and also why his ideology might not have been entirely buried, especially not in “American Islam.”
The Façade of “Islamic Marxism”
General Barre as a solider faithfully served both the Italian and the English colonizers, and himself was mentally colonized by the West to the point of aiming to mix Islam with Marxism.
He also knew that Somalis love the Qur’an and the Sunnah, so in order to impose his modernist agenda, and also to get some money from the Soviet Union, he faked an ideological wedding (more like a forced marriage) between Islam and Marxism.
In 1977 the New York Times reported in an article cynically titled “Somalia Trys to Live by Both the Koran and ‘Das Kapital’“:
President Siad Barre has often insisted that Marx and Mohammed are not only compatible but also complimentary, that the religious asceticism of Islam can combine with the concept of mass discipline inherent in “scientific socialism” to forge a strong national will and lift the country from the ranks of the 25 poorest nations.
“Islam and socialism supplement each other because both advocate the advancement of the interest of the people, of mankind—justice, dignity, prosperity and equality,” be has written.