Omar Hammami, American Jihadist: Top 10 Facts You Need to Know

Omar Hammami: American Jihadist,  American Jihadist 'rapper' , Live tweeting assassination.

Omar Shafik Hammami, the American jihadist in Somalia, has been aiding the fight against the government for the radical Islamist al-Shabaab faction since 2006. It has since been reported that Hammami has fallen out with his former comrades and now lives in isolation in the troubled eastern African nation.

Here’s what you need to know…

1. He Live-tweeted An Assassination Attempt

Yesterday Hammami took to his Twitter account to claim:

2. He Posted the Gruesome Aftermath of the Attempt

3. There’s a $5 Million Dollar Bounty on His Head

Omar Hammami: American Jihadist,  American Jihadist 'rapper' , Live tweeting assassination.

Photo via FBI

According FBI.Gov :

A reward of up to $5 million each for information leading to the apprehension or conviction of two American citizens on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists list was announced today by the U.S. Department of State’s Rewards for Justice program.

4. He Has Been Recruiting Jihad Fighters Through His Raps

Hammami has become something of an online sensation thanks to his English language rap songs such as “Make Jihad With Me” and “Send Me a Cruise Missile.” His songs are used as propaganda for Islamist rebels in Somalia. His singing style has been described as a “deep Barry White Growl.”

Even this area of Hammami’s life is not without controversy as he’s been accused of not-writing his own joints.

5. He Was Ostracized From the Movement in 2012

Omar Hammami: American Jihadist, American Jihadist 'rapper' , Live tweeting assassination.

al-Shabaab, tweeted on their now-suspended account in December 2012 that:

Harakat Al-Shabaab Al-Mujahideen hereby declares that Abu Mansur Al-Amriki does not, in any way, shape or form, represent the views of the Muhajireen in Somalia.

And that:

…narcissistic pursuit of fame and are far removed from the reality on the ground.

Islamic Awakening, a forum for English speaking Islamist with extremist views, had a user who posted on his dimissal from the group:

This issue is not as big as it is made out to be. If it was a Somali commader of HSM, I doubt we would even be discussing it right now. I think the western obsession with celebrity status has affected us too…personally, I don’t see any reason for me to even hold an opinion on this event. It is an internal issue.

The falling out may be linked to a tweet Hammami sent out where he launched a vitrolic attack on the leadership of their Islamist movement in Somalia:

War booty is eaten by the top dogs, but the guys who won it are jailed for touching it. A gun, bullets, some beans is their lot,

6. His Mother is Concerned For His Safety

Omar Hammami: American Jihadist,  American Jihadist 'rapper' , Live tweeting assassination.

Hammami’s mother, Debra, told the Guardian in January, when it had become clear he was no longer protected by al-Shabaab:

I would like to see him be able to leave Somalia if possible, go somewhere and just be safe…It’s in God’s hands.

Debra has not seen her son since 2006, and like everyone else, can only keep up with his activities through Twitter.

7. There Are Believed to be Around 20 Americans Fighting in Somalia

Hammami’s is a unique case, most of the others are Somali-Americans with direct links to the country, and oddly, all hail from the same neighborhood in Minneapolis.

8. He Spends His Time in Isolation

Since leaving the Islamist movement, Hammami spends his time in isolation, tending to vegetables and helping his “wives” around the house, in the full knowledge that his former comrades are targeting him.

9. He Grew up in Daphne, Alabama

A town of around 20,000 people just had the Gulf of Mexico, Hammami was raised by his Southern Baptist mother, Debra, and Syrian father, Shafik. He spent time in Syria when he was very young, but was raised Christian. His father remained a muslim but was not an extremist as his son became. Balancing his Muslim and Irish-Christian heritage he says:

I think having the IRA [Irish Republican Army] on one side of my family tree and al-Qaacidah on the other might
have given me a bit of a bad temperament.

10. He Was Very Popular in His Youth

Omar Hammami: American Jihadist,  American Jihadist 'rapper' , Live tweeting assassination.

Despite his current setting, Hammami grew up a regular kid. He was president of his Sophomore class, played high-school varsity soccer and according to the New York Times:

…his passions veered between Shakespeare and Kurt Cobain, soccer and Nintendo.

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