Both Islamic and Christian shrines. The Islamic ones are manifestations of a cultural Islam that the Wahhabis of al-Shabab reject, deeming such shrines “un-Islamic.” And the Christian ones of course are sites of infidel idolatry.
Sharia Alert: “Somali fighters destroying shrines,” from Al-Jazeera, December 20 (thanks to W. D.):
Al-Shabab, an armed group fighting transitional government and Ethiopian forces in Somalia, is desecrating religious shrines in the south of the country, Al Jazeera has learned.
The ancient graves of clerics and other prominent people are among holy sites being targeted by the armed group in the port city of Kismayo.
Al-Shabab took control of Somalia’s third-largest city about four months ago and quickly announced it would not tolerate anything it deemed un-Islamic.
Al Jazeera correspondent Mohammed Adow said Kismayo’s Roman Catholic church was torn down just days after they seized power through bloody fighting.
“The 60-year-old church had not been used for nearly 20 years and not a single Christian lives in the city – but that was not a good enough reason for the militias to spare the building, he said.”
“They are planning to replace it with a mosque.”
The fighters then turned their hammers on graves, some of which contained the remains of followers of Sufi, a mystical form of Islam.
The sites have been revered for decades and are regularly visited by people paying homage to the dead, a practice al-Shabab has condemned as being akin to idolatry.
“We are a chosen lot by Allah to try and correct the mystics of the people and guide them,” Hassan Yaqub, a spokesman for the Kismayo administration, told Al Jazeera.
“We have a responsibility to the people to guard the people against all evil deeds.”
In Marka, another coastal town in the south of the country, Al Jazeera witnessed the public implementation of Sharia, or Islamic law.
Three men accused of smoking hashish were given a public flogging before the al-Shabab fighters set fire to the drugs that were purportedly found when the men were arrested.
Such practices have become more frequent as al-Shabab has increased its influence across southern and central Somalia, taking back many of the areas which were formerly controlled by the Islamic Courts Union until late 2006.
In October, a 13-year-old girl was reportedly stoned to death in Kismayo after she was found guilty of adultery.
The UN later said that she had been raped….