The (Nigerian) Guardian reports that the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) has taken control of the Somali capital and has grown increasingly radical since seizing Mogadishu and establishing strict courts based on the Quran.
The militia has forbidden movies, television and music. Militiamen in central Somalia last week, fatally shot two people at the screening of a World Cup soccer broadcast banned because it violated the fighters’ strict interpretation of Islamic law. They also broke up a wedding because it featured a band, and men and women socialising together.
Last month The Times reported that the UIC leader, Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, claimed to have no intention of setting up a Taliban-style Islamic state. But The Times article noted that actions might belie this claim:
But the restoration of some semblance of order has come at a price. The courts have closed cinemas accused of showing immoral films and made celebrating New Year a capital offence. A boy was recently allowed to stab his father’s killer to death in front of a cheering crowd.
At Mogadishu’s Peace Hotel weddings used to finish with hundreds of people dancing in the car park, but no longer. “The Islamic courts have told us there can be no pop music,” says a waiter. “It’s very sad. We all hope that things are not going to be like Afghanistan.”
This news might cause some concern for most on the liberal-left, but not – apparently – for the SWP.
Their newspaper, Socialst Worker, cheers on the Islamist militias, editorialising thus:
Although the UIC did not initially have strong popular support, there was a feeling that it upheld moral standards and discipline, and had a unifying and familiar ideology in Islam.
So, a huge ‘Socialst’ horrah from the SWP for “moral standards and discipline” – which usually means amputated limbs for petty thieves, stoning of ‘uncovered’ or ‘unchaste’ women and lashes for gays and bullets in the head for anyone questioning the new order.
The important thing to remember, folks, is that the UIC is anti-American, so as the Socialist Worker says “no doubt imperialism has suffered a blow”. Everything (and everyone) else, I guess, is just collateral damage.