Terrorist group calls for Internet ban in Somalia
The terrorist group Al-Shabaab, which has been quite active in the country of Somalia, is calling for internet service provides to stop providing service in the country, leading to outrage among citizens and the government.
There are a variety of reasons why Internet access is important to the citizenry of a nation. It can provide access to ideas and information that can enable greater thought and discussion, while also providing education to those who may have difficulty accessing it otherwise. However, some groups and organizations do not necessarily agree with this line of thought. From terrorist cells to governments, there are a number of people who wish to see Internet access limited.
An outright ban
While some people wish to administer strict censorship policies, Al-Shabaab is looking to outright ban access to online services because it believes cyberspace will expose citizens to the wrong ideas. CNN reported that the terrorist group gave ISPs an ultimatum to either cease providing online services, or face attacks from the group.
It is hypocritical that Al-Shabaab should administer such a threat given the fact that terrorist cell has quite an active present on social media, according to the news source. These threats have been condemned by the Somali government.
The country's interior minister, Abdikarim Hussein Guled said that the country's constitution guarantees freedom of expression and that citizens must be allowed to access information without fear, calling these threats intimidation tactics.
Prohibition of ideas
The organization has justified its threat by saying that Western intelligence agencies are using cyberspace to spy on the mujahideen, according to All Africa. This includes the mobile Internet, because the Al-Shabaab claims that it can be used to spy on the movement of Muslim people.
"Mobile internet is of particular danger to the security of Muslims fighting the enemies who have come, because it increases opportunities for [their] spies to transmit intelligence about the mujahideen to intelligence agencies abounding in the country," the group reportedly said.
Further, the group believes that online capabilities allow youth to access content that goes against Islamic ideas and encourages bad habits amount the youth.
Al-Shabaab occupies part of the country and has been in conflict with the Somali government. These kinds of practices have taken hold in parts of the the territory that the group currently occupies, such as harassing citizens who use smart phones. Hopefully, the Somali government is able to protect the country's online assets to keep the Internet open to use in the country.