Not all Al-Shabaab Militias sneak into Kenya with Guns and Grenades; some come with deep ideologies and theories to the young Kenyan Somalis.
Blending with them is not hard due to the similar religion and culture, these terrorists use twisted religion ideologies to lure the Kenyan Somalis into thinking that there is more to live for in Somalia. They use history to make them doubt their own identity and place in Kenya.
Somalia has not been doing well for years. Explosions, fires, hunger strikes, Terrorists killing innocent Muslims and women denied the freedom to speak up. The terrorists won’t tell you this. They will paint a picture of a war that needs to be fought; they will make these youths believe that it is their responsibility as Somalis to fight against Kenya with them.
Most of the Kenyan Somalis have never been to Somalia, they know literally nothing about the country except for what is seen in the news. They are as Kenyan as any Meru, Kamba or Mijikenda but due to the crimes committed by terrorists, these youths have had to pay dearly for being Somali.
We have had so many cases of Somalis being frisked more than other individuals in international airports, some being deported and others being denied job opportunities despite their qualifications. Many Somalis in the Western Countries like USA have been treated like terrorists due to the stigma and crimes committed by the Al- Shabaab hiding behind the Somali ethnicity. This has forced most to spend their lives alone without any friends because their heritage is perceived to relate to terror.
It becomes so easy to manipulate an individual who lacks a sense of belonging and the Al-Shabaab know exactly where to hit. They go for the lonely and the abandoned then instil in them the zeal to have something to live for and before you know it, he or she is trained on how to hate and detest anything Kenyan, how to be a suicide bomber or how to slaughter a human being without letting in any shred of guilt.
Those who accept to move to Somalia to pursue ‘a greater calling’ realize that they left so much good in Kenya. So much peace and potential for a good settled life but at that point, changing their minds is usually out of option. Over the years, several Al-Shabaab defectors have been killed for betraying the course and those who somehow manage to live with their bad choices end up realizing they will never fully fit in, in Somalia because they are seen to be lesser Somalis who have no right to air out suggestions.
We have a good number of paramount Somali leaders in Kenya like DPP Noordin Haji, Former IEBC Chairman Isaac Hassan and top journalists like Mohammed Ali who have done so well for themselves. More platforms should be formed for young Kenyan Somalis to be taught on how to be so comfortable in their skin in order to not let the other Somalis make them doubt their existence. Let us give them opportunities because we need them as much as they need us, let us show equality and immense love towards them so that if any terrorists approaches them with intentions of instilling hate, they will firmly stand up and defend the country because they are as Kenyan as we are.