Islamic Courts ban western music in Somalia

October 2006


The Union of Islamic Courts, which now govern large parts of Somalia, have extended their influence into Somalia’s media by prohibiting the broadcast of Western love songs in areas of the country that they control. The UIC had previously banned broadcasts of the World Cup and cinemas are now censored, with many closed for showing “un-Islamic movies” such as Bollywood films. Night clubs have been shut down and many aspects of social life have been ‘Islamized’. A wedding party was stopped because beer was being served, women and men were openly socializing together and the wedding band was playing what were deemed “filthy songs”. In September the Union banned the broadcasts of Western pop music and love songs. A radio FM station in Jowhar, an airport town which lies 90 kilometers from the capital of Mogadishu was shut down for airing “music and love songs,” according to an Islamic official Sheik Mohamed Mohamoud Abdirahman. In a statement issued on Saturday, and later read on several radio stations, Abdirahman wrote: “We are here by announcing to suspend temporarily the work of the Radio Jowhar from 9 p.m. local time and forbid releasing all music which is a big crime according to the Islamic religion …. It is useless to air music and love songs for the people,” the statement added. It also warns that anyone who dares to violate the music ban will be punished according to Islamic law. This includes a fine, flogging, a jail term or arrest. He further explained that Radio Jowhar was closed because the Islamic Court determined that its programs were very un-Islamic and were in fact inflicting “cancer on the people.” The station has now re-opened but with no music. The UIC are part of a fundamental movement that aims to transform Somalia into one Islamic nation, ruled by Sharia law.

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