Sunday, July 09, 2006

People are going to pray to bring the warlords back

Africa: At the rate the Islamists in Somalia are going with enforcing Sharia law.

Jowhar - Somali Islamic courts punished 11 teenagers with 40 lashes in public each on Saturday, after they confessed to "un-Islamic behaviour", including smoking marijuana, pretending to be Islamic militia, violence and looting. The youths were lined up on open ground in the town of Jowhar, about 90km northwest of the capital, and whipped under the supervision of Islamic courts officials, which have begun to implement Sharia law. The event was witnessed by an AFP correspondent. The court, chaired by a hard-line panel of sheikhs, said the teenagers were convicted after four confessed to smoking marijuana, four admitted to looting and destroying government buildings, and three acknowledged violence and that they had pretended to be Islamic court officials to extort the public. "This is the start of a new era and we will continue to carry out the Sharia in Jowhar town and all parts of the Middle Shabelle region. We do not have any reverse gear. "It is our responsibility to make sure Sharia laws are respected," said Sheikh Mohamoud Jiliale, an official of the Jowhar Islamic tribunal. Wedding party raided Officials said the tribunals, which have vowed to restore law and order in the shattered country, would ensure Sharia law prevails. Islamists imposed Sharia law in Jowhar on June 19, after they routed United States-backed warlords from the capital and large swathes of southern Somalia. On Friday, around 20 Islamic militiamen raided a wedding party in Mogadishu, flogged a woman and confiscated musical instruments as they enforced a ban on band music in public ceremonies. On Wednesday, a senior cleric announced that any Somali Muslim who failed to perform daily prayers would be killed. Gunmen shot and killed two people in central Somalia early this week while quelling a protest against a ban on watching the soccer World Cup at a local cinema.

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