September 2006 Church & State | AU Bulletin

Islamic militias are stepping up their efforts to bring strict religious law to war-ravaged Somalia.

After ousting warlords widely reported to have been financially supported by the American government, heavily armed militias have backed the efforts of Islamic leaders to bring Somalia under sharia religious law. 

In June, not long after the Islamic militias captured Somalia’s capital of Mogadishu, Mohamed Ali Aden told The New York Times that an Islamic state would be created.

“We’ve neglected God’s verses for so long,” Aden said. “We want our women veiled and we want them at home. We men have to grow our beards.”

In early July, Agence France-Presse reported that a top official with the Supreme Islamic Council of Somalia issued an edict that those who did not pray five times a day in accordance with a strict reading of the Koran would face the death penalty.

“He who does not perform prayers will be considered as infidel and Sharia law orders that that person be killed,” said Sheikh Abdalla Ali, a founder of the Islamic Council.