Thursday, October 12, 2006

Somaliland: Out come the freaks

The other day I posted about Somaliland - the former British part of Somalia that broke away from the rest of the country in 1991. Somaliland, not being officially recognised by any other country, has bucked the trend of many African states and, despite (or maybe, because of) not qualifying for aid, has done rather well for itself.

Somaliland is a secular nation, but the success of the Islamist movement in it's southern, war torn neighbour has led to calls from it's own RoP clerics for the government to impose Sharia Law.

This report claims that .....

In a development that duplicates the rise of Islamic Courts in Mogadishu, a group of local clerics have urged the Somaliland government to apply the Islamic Sharia without any further delay and stop promoting the country as a secular state.

In two separate but similar statements signed by 43 clerics, 13 from the capital Hargeisa and 30 from the second largest city Buroa, the clerics demanded the government to withdraw a statement by the Foreign Minister in which he stated that Somaliland followed a secular constitution.

"We demand the government to give an official apology about the Foreign Minister's statement to the BBC in which he said that Somaliland followed a secular, or irreligious, constitution,: said the statement issued in Buroa. It also demanded that the country's judiciary should be an independent body based on Islamic Sharia and all laws that contradicted the Sharia should be revoked.

Notice how they "demand". No suggestion of a dialogue or mutual respect - just demands. There's more ...

The Buroa statement also warned the media against spreading anti-Islamic propaganda.

Interestingly, Somaliland has a mainly free and private media - rare in Africa. The Islamists want to stop that, of course, and in their minds anything anti-Islamic is propaganda. The report doesn't say what consequences that warning carried - if any, but we know from our own experience what that means in the west.

The Hargeisa clerics also called upon the government and the public to refrain from lampooning the devoted faithful who wore Islamic signs such long beards and women's veil.

In other words, freedom of speech is not allowed in the Islamists world. Still there were some positives from these clerics ...

The Hargeisa clerics hailed the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) for their positive achievements and for applying the Islamic Sharia, but warned them against any attempts to destabilize Somaliland. "We praise the Islamic Courts in Somalia for their good achievements such restoring peace and their call for the application of the Sharia but we warn them against interfering in the internal affairs of Somaliland and disturbing its long preserved peace and stability," they said.

That's nice of them - as they systematically begin interfering with the democratic process and trying to destabilize one of the few stable states in Africa.

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