Friday 22nd July 2011
From the BBC website:
'Somalia's al-Shabab Islamists have denied lifting their ban on some Western aid agencies and say UN reports of famine are "sheer propaganda".
'The UN on Wednesday said that parts of
were suffering a famine after the worst drought in 60 years.
'A spokesman for al-Shabab, which has ties to al-Qaeda and controls much of the country, accused the banned groups of being political.
'But the UN insists famine exists and it will continue its aid efforts.
'Most Western aid agencies quit Somalia in 2009 following al-Shabab's threats, though some say they have managed to continue operating through local partners.'
So far some much standard Islamist fare. But this is interesting:
'BBC Somali editor Yusuf Garaad Omar says food aid - as supplied by WFP - is sensitive for al-Shabab as it would like to ensure it goes to regions it controls, rather than government areas.
'He also says that a lot of money can be made from transporting food. Helping women and children - the work Unicef does - is less of an issue, he says.'
The Christian ideal of helping those less fortunate still permeates Western post-Christian thinking. It is based on Old Testament instructions to be 'open-handed' towards the poor and to have special concern for widows and orphans. And it is entirely lacking in Islam.