It is estimated that 200-400 Somalis in Denmark support the terror organization al-Shabaab. A large group of Somalis who oppose it suffer from threats and intimidation. This according to a report from the Justice Ministry, written by researchers Michael Taarby and Lars Hallundbæk.
The organization is most known in Denmark because the axe-armed man broke into cartoonist Kurt Westergaard’s home in Aarhus, and another Somali who killed 24 people in Mogadishu with a suicide bomb, were friends and had clear sympathies for al-Shabaab.
Al-Shabaab builds further on Islamic fundamentalism, and support a global Jihad-ideology and have some contact with al-Qaeda.
Though al-Shabaab sympathizers make up a small minority among Somalis in Denmark, they attempt to pressure people who think differently into silence but using threats, say the researchers.
For example, a family burial ground was destroyed in Somalia, when a Somali in Denmark expressed himself negatively about al-Shabaab.
The researchers say that young, marginalized Somalis are in a vulnerable position, because they have difficulties leaving up to their parents’ ambitions. Some parents support religious interests and al-Shabaab use this to gradually radicalize the youth.
At the same time, parents hold back from going to the authorities when they become nervous of their sons’ development. They fear they would be accused of being accomplices.
The threat from al-Shabaab has been seriously underestimated, the two researchers say, and call for further research on how al-Shabaab radicalized and recruit youth to the global Jihad war.