The Somalian Government has banned Christmas and New Years' celebrations on the ground they have nothing to do with Islam.
"We warn against celebration of Christmas, which is only for Christians," Sheikh Mohamed Kheyrow, director of Somalia’s ministry of religion, said on state radio. "This is a matter of faith. The Christmas holiday and its drum beatings have nothing to with Islam."
He said the ministry has sent letters to the police, national security intelligence and officials in the capital Mogadishu instructing them to "prevent Christmas celebrations."
al-Shabab, which controlled Mogadishu until 2011, used to do the same thing. Since Somalia is almost entirely Muslim, what's behind the new ban? It's not entirely clear, but one theory: Fear of attacks.[More...]
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In Southern Somalia, Abas Hussein Abdirahman, 33, was stoned to death for adultery as a crowd of 300 watched. He had confessed to an Islamist court. His pregnant girlfriend will meet the same fate, death by stoning, after she gives birth.
"He was screaming and blood was pouring from his head during the stoning. After seven minutes he stopped moving," an eyewitness told the BBC.
The BBC's Mohammed Olad Hassan in Mogadishu says that if the woman is also killed, her baby would be given to relatives to look after.
Somalia has not had a "functioning government" in 18 years. Last year, a 13 year old girl was stoned to death for adultery -- she had been raped.
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Islamist militants in Somalia are forcing people, including children, to watch executions:
People in Merca said al-Shabaab militia patrolled the town with loudspeakers, demanding they attend the executions.
The militants also ordered schools to close for the day as they were keen for children to watch the two men being shot dead by a firing squad. Most of those at the execution, on a patch of open ground, are reported to have been women and children.
The militants apparently hope it will lead the kids to engaging in violent behavior. [More...]
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Four men who stole three cell phones and two assault rifles have been sentenced under Sharia law in Somalia. Each will have their right hand and left leg (probably above the foot) amputated in public.
Amnesty International is protesting the sentence.
"We are appealing to Al-Shabab not to carry out these cruel, inhuman and degrading punishments," said Tawanda Hondora, Amnesty International's Africa Deputy Director. "These sentences were ordered by a sham Al-Shabab court with no due process or guarantees of fairness."
The four young men were not represented by lawyers or allowed to appeal the sentence. The sentence was not immediately carried out because it was so hot outside there was fear the men would bleed to death.
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Now the U.S. is killing suspected Islamocists in Somalia in the name of the war on terror. But it's not releasing any details.
Are we about to get into another pre-emptive war or are we trying to bring democracy to Somalia or do we just believe we can go anywhere in the world and kill people because they might be al-Qaida followers?
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