“If you come to Islam, you will become super rich.” Andrew and a group of young men from nearby villages listened intently to the sheikh’s words. “You will also be worshiping the real god,” he told them. Although Andrew had been raised as a Christian in his Tanzanian village, he was not well grounded in the faith. So he didn’t need to think long about the sheikh’s promises before deciding to follow Islam. Andrew was so drawn to the teachings and promises of Islam that even the two-hour walk to the mosque failed to deter him. He was also very attracted by the radical words of the charismatic sheikh. “He told us how he killed people,” Andrew said, “and if we are going to stand up for Islam, we need to be ready to give our lives and kill the enemy.” The sheikh, who was preparing Andrew and the other young men for service with the Somalian Islamist group al-Shabab, also taught them how to use machetes and guns. Waging jihad, or “holy war,” against those perceived to be enemies of Islam, al-Shabab makes no secret of its goal to eradicate Christianity from Somalia. And it has been exporting its

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Categories: Stories from the Field