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article imageJihadist group bans plastic bags to protect 'humans And animals'

By Karen Graham     Jul 5, 2018 in Environment
The Somali terror group al-Shabaab, known for deadly attacks on thousands of people across East Africa, has banned plastic bags because of the threat they pose to the environment.
The jihadist fundamentalist group is also affiliated with al-Qaeda, and in 2017, was the group behind a truck bombing that killed more than 500 people, reports the Huffington Post.
Radio Andalus, the radio station run by the group, broadcast the news of the ban on plastic bags Sunday - saying discarded plastic bags “pose a serious threat to the well-being of humans and animals alike.” The jihadist group also issued an immediate ban on the cutting down of native trees, according to a Somali website that has voiced support for the group.
ZME Science is reporting that Mohammed Abu Abdullah, a regional leader, said that plastic bags are a “serious” threat and will be forbidden in the area where Al Shabaab operates. It is not clear how this ban will be enforced, but in a society ruled by strict adherence to the group's laws, enforcement will probably not be a problem.
A devastating October blast  claimed by the Shabaab  killed as many as 512 people
A devastating October blast, claimed by the Shabaab, killed as many as 512 people
Protecting the environment is not selective
Raffaello Pantucci, a counter-terror expert at the Royal United Services Institute (Rusi), says the move to ban plastic bags may be the group's way of showing the world they know how to govern.
“Other East African governments have banned plastic bags and this ban is al-Shabaab’s attempt to show their people that they too can implement laws and govern like any legitimate ruler," he added. And speaking of laws, the group has imposed a strict version of Sharia in areas under its control.
Pantucci does wonder aloud about the irony of "the same group that has been involved in the banned ivory trade to fund its terror activities" doing something for the good of the planet.
Plastic bags are just one of a long list of items banned in al-Shabaab controlled territories. The group has also outlawed western music, cinemas, satellite dishes, smartphones, fiber optic services and humanitarian agencies. And this is not the first time al-Qaeda and its allies have promoted environmental protection.
The Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab group was chased out of Mogadishu in 2011  but remains a dangerous threat...
The Al-Qaeda-linked Shebab group was chased out of Mogadishu in 2011, but remains a dangerous threat in both Somalia and Kenya where it carries out frequent attacks
Mohamed Abdiwahab, AFP/File
And it should be mentioned that in 2017, Taliban leader Hibatullah Akhundzad urged Afghans to plant more trees because they play an “important role in environmental protection, economic development, and the beautification of the Earth” as well as honoring Allah.
ZME Science points out that even "bad groups can have good ideas." However, this does not mean that terror activities and environmentalism are in lock-step. But it does show, in its broadest sense, that regardless of a person or group's political persuasions, protecting the planet is apolitical.
What is amazing is that the environmental problems plaguing us today are so big that even terror groups are joining the movement to save the planet.
More about Plastic bags, al shabaab, alQaeda,, Environment, rare trees
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