Somalia: Behave or Die

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September 13, 2006: The Islamic Courts have been imposing Sharia (Islamic law) standards on entertainment, dress, and other activities. The most recent move was to seize a radio station that had been broadcasting "un-Islamic music" �" apparently traditional Somali popular music. As it is not firmly in control of the "hearts and minds" of most Somalis (who only support it because it provides an alternative to anarchy), the Islamic Courts have occasionally backed off in the face of public protests over certain Sharia restrictions. Sooner or later, there will be a major break between the mass of the people (or rather their tribal and clan leaders) and the Islamic Courts.
There is basically a standoff between the transitional government (now backed by Ethiopian troops) and the Islamic Courts. But that could change as Islamic Courts groups slowly take control of more villages.
September 10, 2006: The Islamic Courts continues to recruit more religious leaders, and tribal leaders, into the Islamic Courts movement. The main appeal is a reduction in the crime and anarchy. Most Somalis are fed up with the anarchy, and its negative impact on the economy, and are willing to rally around their religious leaders, against those gangs and tribal factions that want to continue doing whatever they want. The more religious gunmen are then recruited into the Islamic Courts militia, and used to enforce Sharia (Islamic religious) laws on everyone. But since Sharia is subject to interpretation, there are growing disputes, some of them resulting in gunfire, over just what Sharia should mean in Somalia.
September 8, 2006: The Islamic Courts are urging aid organizations to return, at the same time they are threatening armed resistance to any effort by the African Union to send in peacekeepers. The Islamic Courts also want control over how the foreign aid is distributed, something that most aid groups are opposed to.

 

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