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Somalia bans swimming for women at beach October 24, 2006

Posted by C.A.R.D in ban, Card, Citizens Against Racism and Discrimination, Islam, Islamic, Women.

MOGADISHU, Somalia – An Islamic court has banned women from swimming at the main beach in Somalia’s capital, the latest step to impose strict religious rule that has sparked fears of an emerging, Taliban-style regime.

Sheikh Farah Ali Hussein, chair of a northern Mogadishu Islamic court, said Friday that the ban applies only to the northern Mogadishu Leedo beach, where families usually go on weekends to play and relax.

“We stopped women from swimming because it is against the teaching of Islam for women to mingle with men, especially while they are swimming,” Hussein said.

Since sweeping to power over much of southern Somalia in June, the Islamists have banned movie viewing, publicly lashed drug users and broke up a wedding celebration because a band was playing and women and men were socializing together. They also have introduced public executions.

Somali women usually swim fully clothed as swimsuits are generally frowned upon. Somali men, however, swim in trunks, at times bare-chested or wearing vests.

“They cannot prevent us from our right to swim in the sea. What is wrong with us enjoying ourselves like men? That is clear discrimination,” Miriam Isse told The Associated Press as she watched others swimming in the Indian Ocean.

Somalia has not had an effective national government since 1991, when warlords overthrew dictator Mohammed Siad Barre and then turned on one another, throwing the country into anarchy.

A transitional government was formed in 2004 with U.N. help in hopes of restoring order. But the government never asserted much authority and the Islamic group has stepped into the power vacuum.

The group’s strict and often severe interpretation of Islam raises memories of


‘s Taliban, which was ousted by a U.S.-led campaign for harboring

Osama bin Laden

and al-Qaida fighters.

The United States has accused Somalia’s Islamic group of sheltering suspects in the 1998 al-Qaida bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Bin Laden has portrayed Somalia as a battleground in his war on the West.

Source: The Associated Press

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