Sharia Alert. By Mohamed Sheikh Nor, from AP:
MOGADISHU, Somalia – An Islamic court has banned women from swimming at the main beach in Somalia’s capital, the latest step to impose strict religious rule that has sparked fears of an emerging, Taliban-style regime.
Sheikh Farah Ali Hussein, chair of a northern Mogadishu Islamic court, said Friday that the ban applies only to the northern Mogadishu Leedo beach, where families usually go on weekends to play and relax.
“We stopped women from swimming because it is against the teaching of Islam for women to mingle with men, especially while they are swimming,” Hussein said.
Since sweeping to power over much of southern Somalia in June, the Islamists have banned movie viewing, publicly lashed drug users and broke up a wedding celebration because a band was playing and women and men were socializing together. They also have introduced public executions.
Somali women usually swim fully clothed as swimsuits are generally frowned upon. Somali men, however, swim in trunks, at times bare-chested or wearing vests.
“They cannot prevent us from our right to swim in the sea. What is wrong with us enjoying ourselves like men? That is clear discrimination,” Miriam Isse told The Associated Press as she watched others swimming in the Indian Ocean.