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Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, his beard dyed red, is under house arrest in Mogadishu.

MOGADISHU, SOMALIA—A man who has been called everything from a terrorist, a visionary, a clan elder, a religious scholar, a killer and a statesmen greets me on his driveway with a wave and a grin.

Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys seems eager for visitors. House arrest does not agree with those who pride themselves as leaders, not captives.

It has been a decade since our last interview in Mogadishu, when he was the spiritual head of the Islamic Courts Union (ICU), which the George W. Bush administration warned was “Africa’s Taliban.”

Aweys, listed both by the U.S. and United Nations as global terrorist associated with Al Qaeda, hasn’t changed much in 10 years; his face is relatively unlined for a septuagenarian, his beard still dyed vibrant henna red, his opinion that Somalia should be governed by Islamic law unwavering.

But Somalia — and the world — has. Bush to Barack Obama to Donald Trump, four Somali presidents and seven prime ministers, the rise and (somewhat) decline of East Africa’s Al Qaeda branch, Al Shabab, the rise and (somewhat) decline of Daesh, also known as ISIS and ISIL.

Sourse: The Star

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