On Friday 23 February, Al-Azhar, the highest seat of Sunni Muslim learning, strongly condemned the twin bombs that rocked the Somali capital of Mogadishu. More than 18 people were reported dead after two bombers struck the city’s government quarter.
Al-Azhar reiterated its firm position on the inviolability of innocent civilians’ blood, stating, “these actions run counter to the tolerant Islamic teachings.” In a statement on Saturday, Al-Azhar called for “countering terrorism whose menace targets the world at large.”
The statement added that all divinely-revealed religions and all man-made laws share in rejection and condemnation of any form of terrorisation or aggression against innocent people.
The first blast, detonated by a suicide car bomber, occurred near the headquarters of Somalia’s intelligence service. The second came close to parliament, the presidential palace, and police headquarters—all of which are in close proximity to each other in Mogadishu’s government district.
The Al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab group claimed responsibility for the attacks.
The militants were largely forced out of the capital by African Union troops in 2011, but they continue to be highly active in large parts of the countryside. Last October, they launched their deadliest-ever attack on the capital, killing 500 people—also using vehicles laden with explosives.