Alabama’s Omar Hammami joined an Al Qaeda-linked group in Somalia but now fears his group may try to kill him over disagreements.
Under his new name of Abu Mansour al-Amriki, the extremist Al-Shabaab propagandist posted a YouTube video in Arabic and English with a rifle leaning against a wall and a black banner draped behind him with the flag of Al Qaeda.
"I record this message today because I feel that my life may be endangered by Harakat Shabaab al-Mujahideen due to some differences that occurred between us regarding matters of the Sharia law and matters of strategy,” he says.
Hammami, or al-Amiki, was born in Alabama to a native American mother and a Syrian-born father. He was the president of his American college’s chapter of the Muslim Students Association, whose websites were monitored by police.
He previously has encouraged other Americans to join the Al-Shabaab group, for which he also is a field commander.
The video is unprecedented in terrorist circles, where no one has dared to post a video publicly stating that his own group intends to assassinate him.
Ben Venzke, of the terrorist monitoring group Intel Center, said Hammami “has played a significant role in recruiting new fighters to Al-Shabaab and is believed to have been on track for a growing role and profile, not only in the group but in the broader jihadi community.”
In 2009, he posted a video stating, "If you can encourage more of your children, and more of your neighbors, and anyone around you to send people ... to this Jihad, it would be a great asset for us."
Events turned the wrong way for Hammami’s terrorist group since last summer, when Al-Shabaab’s senior leaders were killed at a roadblock.
Tension repeatedly has grown among members over a declaration last month that the group is going to become an official part of Al Qaeda.
Hammami says in English after 43 seconds in the video, “To whomever it may reach from the Muslims I'm Abu Mansour al-Amriki. I record this message today because I feel my life may be endangered by Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen, due to some differences that occurred between us regarding matters of the Sharia and matters of strategy.