Al-Shabab Urges Parents to Send Their Children to Islamic Schools to Avoid Western Influences

Women walk next to a soldier on the scene of a terror attack on the Ambassador Hotel claimed by Somalia's Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Shabab, in Mogadishu on June 2, 2016. The group has now warned parents to not send their children to secular schools. MOHAMED ABDIWAHAB/AFP/Getty Images

Al-Shabab militants have warned parents in Somalia against sending their children to secular schools and universities. The Al-Qaeda-affiliated group issued the directive in a 26-minute recording released on Thursday.

Its spokesman, Sheikh Ali Mohamoud Rage, said children should attend only Islamic schools and claimed other types of education encourage youths to adore Christianity and migrate to the West, the BBC reported.

The Somali government condemned Al-Shabab 's statement.

"It only depicts the most ugly face and cruelty of al-Shabab against Somali people," Information Minister Abdurahman Omar Osman told Voices of America.

The recording came weeks after Al-Shabab's Education and Youth Engagement department released an all-Arabic education curriculum. The approved subjects include the Koran, geography, history and math.

Earlier this year, Somalia's recently elected President Mohamed Abdullahi "Farmajo" Mohamed, offered a 60-day amnesty period for Al-Shabab to surrender and vowed to help militants reintegrate into society.

However, the militants rejected the offer and claimed responsibility for several attacks in the country.

Al-Shabaab controls parts of Somalia and aims to overthrow the Somali government and impose its own version of Islam in the country.

The group controlled Mogadishu and the southern region of Somalia from 2006 until 2011, when it was defeated by African Union forces.

Al-Shabab often targets Kenya in retaliation for the Linda Nchi military operation, which featured the deployment of Kenyan troops to Somalia to drive out the militants in 2011.

In one of its deadliest attacks carried out in Kenya, the group slaughtered 148 people at the Garissa University College on April 2, 2015, reportedly separating Christians from Muslims and executing the former.