Latest update: December 30th, 2013
This time he’s actually dead.
At least, that’s what the current reports are saying. The “he” is American-born jihadist Omar Hammami, who is also known as Abu Mansour al Amriki.
The nickname of the dead terrorist, “al Amriki,” means “the American.” He was born in Alabama to a Muslim Syrian father and an American Christian mother. Originally raised as a Southern Baptist, Hammami eventually turned towards his father’s religion, but unlike his father, Omar could not reconcile a western life and the practice of the Islamic religion.
The young Hammami was close with his Jewish high school teacher, Kathleen Hirsch, who mentored him for six years while he was in the gifted student program first in elementary school and then at Daphne Middle School in Alabama.
As Hammami became increasingly consumed by Islam, he flouted the rules and dared anyone to stop him. Apparently, no one did.
“By his junior year, Hammami had become a spectacle. He made a point of praying by the flagpole outside school yet refused to say the Pledge of Allegiance, friends recalled. In class, he swore at Hirsch, his longtime teacher, assailing her for being Jewish,” The New York Times reported in a lengthy 2010 story about him.
Hammami moved first to Canada, where he married a Somali girl whose family had fled the civil war in her home country. Their next stop was Egypt. In 2006 Hammami, disappointed by the secularism of Egypt, moved again, leaving behind his wife and child. This time Hammami went to Somalia, intent upon pursuing his goal of jihad. He hoped to help usher in the caliphate, that is, an Islamic world order. He wanted to live where Islamic ideology, the Sharia, is practiced fully and accurately.
Hammami joined al Shabaab, the “Muhahadeen Youth Movement,” which is an al Qaeda faction based in Somalia. Al Shabaab is dedicated to fighting enemies of Islam, and have been responsible for many deaths of foreign aid workers in Somalia. The group controls large portions of southern Somalia, where it has imposed very strict Islamic rules.
In the seven years during which Abu Mansour al Amriki was in Somalia, he served as a Shabaab military commander, propagandist, recruiter, and fundraiser.
Although Omar rose quickly through the al Shabaab ranks, the same qualities that marked him as a leader first in his Alabama schools, then amongst his fellow al Qaeda terrorists, soured his fellow Islamists. Omar “starred” in too many propaganda and recruiting videos. He even released several “hip hop” videos, encouraging others to join him in jihad. The other al Shabaab leaders turned on Hammami and exiled him in January, 2013, for his “narcissistic pursuit of fame.”
Al Amriki again turned to videos to express his displeasure with his former comrades, chastising them for being short-sighted. The al Shabaab terrorists were solely focused on controlling Somalia, whereas al Amriki wanted to conquer the whole world for Islam.
According to reports, the Somali insurgents had enough of the white-skinned jihadist with the big plans. Twice before there were rumors of al Amriki’s death.
Members of al Shabaab reportedly shot and killed Hammami and a colleague in their hideout in southern Somalia on Thursday, September, 12. He was 29 years old.
About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools.
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