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ICC NOTE: In recent weeks several people in the capital have been flogged for violating Islamic law. Pray for Christians in Somalia who face a whole new oppression with the rise of Islamic extremism.

For the full article go to The Sudan Tribune

Somali Islamists shut radio channel for playing western music

Sunday 10 September 2006.

Hardline Islamists who control much of southern Somalia on Saturday ordered the closure of a radio channel for playing western music, fuelling fears that the lawless nation was gradually sliding into religious extremism.

Militiamen loyal to the Supreme Islamic Council of Somalia (SICS) stormed into the radio station in Jowhar, about 90 kilometres (55 miles) north of the capital, and ordered its closure until further notice, officials said.

“We have ordered Radio Jowhar to close down because it is playing music that promotes evil behaviour,” Sheikh Mohamed Mahamoud Abdulrahman, said a commander in the Islamic movement.

Abdulrahman said the radio station had defied several requests to stop playing music that is against the teachings of Islam.

“We cannot have a radio station playing evil music yet we are trying to promote Sharia law across Somalia ,” he said.

The station’s manager Said Hagaa confirmed that the increasingly influential movement had pulled the channel off air hours after ordering it not to play western music.

The Islamists who seized southern Somalia and are currently expanding their influence to the central regions have flogged several people in the capital and outlying outposts for violating Islamic law in recent weeks.

They have also banned all trade and public transportation during prayer times, live music at wedding receptions and other events and harassed civilians, mainly women, for failing to wear appropriate dress in public in areas under their control.

In July they issued an edict warning that Muslims who do not perform daily prayers may be punished by death.

The requirement for Muslims to observe the five-times daily ritual on penalty of death appeared to confirm the hardline nature of the increasingly powerful Sharia courts in the capital.

It was not immediately clear who would enforce the regulation, or how. But the courts have well-armed militias which routed a US-backed alliance of warlords in June after four months of bloody battles for control of Mogadishu.

US and other western officials have expressed concern about a “creeping Talibanization” in Somalia at the hands of the Islamists, some of whom are accused of links with Osama bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda network.

The Islamists flatly reject the charges, but have vowed to impose strict Sharia law across the largely Muslim Horn of Africa nation of some 10 million that has been without a functioning central authority for the last 16 years.