Thursday, November 30, 2006

"(T)he bad lovers of sport are in jail"

This past weekend, members of Somalia's Islamic Courts Union (ICU) arrested 25 people for the crime of watching the English Premier League match between Chelsea and Manchester United:

The sports fans were seized by the Islamists who also destroyed and confiscated equipment belonging to the cinema in the Buulo Burde district of Hiiran region in central Somalia.

Eye witness Adul Waahid Ahmed told the AIPS website that during the fiercely contested 1-1 game between Chelsea and Manchester United masked Islamists stormed into the cinema and opened fire above the heads of the viewers.

"Everyone ran toward the front of the cinema and only 25 of the more than 150 fans were arrested and had their heads shaved," the eye witness told Shafici Mohyaddin Abokar of the Somali Sports Press Association via phone this morning.

"Praise be to Allah no one was hurt," he said

The local Islamist sheikh defended the arrests by arguing that young men should be preparing for jihad instead of watching "bad games":

Sheik Hussein Barre Raage of the district Islamic Courts Union in Buulo Burde harshly criticized the viewing of sport by Somali citizens and said that anyone caught watching a match would be registered as a criminal.

"Now the bad lovers of sport are in jail and will remain there until they are taught the good culture and lessons of Islam," the Islamist administrator said.

The Sheik told a press conference that Somali youth are obliged to go to the holy war instead of watching what he called "the bad games which descended from the old Christian cultures." The Sheik decreed that instead of watching television, sports fans must register at specially established holy war registration centers.

(Emphasis added-DD)

Numerous press reports state that the ICU has brought a much coveted peace and stability to Somalia. Unfortunately, the Somali people are now realizing the price to be paid.


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