Somalia: Religious groups stop music at weddings with violence



Religious groups stop music at weddings with violence

Somalia experiences an on-going struggle over the right to listen to music and dance to it. These are the latest reports in international media about militant Islamists’ atttacks and crack-downs on music

In a typical Somali wedding, women dance with men to the tunes of Somali love songs, performed by a vocalist and a pianist. But in recent months, traditional wedding celebrations have been banned, and music and dancing are no longer allowed in areas where militant Islamist groups have seized control, reported Idil Osman for Voice Of America News on 17 August 2009.

In the Somali capital Mogadishu, religious militants of the Islamic Courts Union are reported to have raided a number of wedding ceremonies. In one instance, twenty heavily armed men fired shots in the air and took musical instruments from the band performing in a private home.

Those residing in the cities of Marka and Kismayo, where hard-line Islamist groups are now in control, are finding the change hard to embrace, reported Idil Osman.

On 29 May 2009, Somalilandpress reported that the Islamic Administration in Kismayo, Lower Jubba [southern Somalia] had banned ways wedding celebrations are conducted in the town and had imposed various restrictions meant to align it with the teachings of Islam.

Sheikh Abdirashid Ma’alin Ahmad (also known as Abu Yonis) who is among officials of the Alshabaab militants administration in Kismayo said “there will be no music or dancing by men and women in weddings that are held in the town since it involves men and women who are not allowed to mingle and is against the teachings of Islam.”

Attacked by gun bullets
On 30 June 2009, Shabelle Media Network reported that armed Islamic Courts Union fighters assaulted a ‘cultural boogie’ in El-Ghelle village north of Balad district, 30 kilometres north of Mogadishu. The fighters were reported to have opened fire on the site where drum music and traditional jazz songs were played, and dozens of men and women were taking part in the dance. Both men and women were wounded by the bullets.

Instruments broken
Hayir Ali Roble, one of the musicians performing at the wedding party which was attacked in Mogadishu, said: “We kept our musical instruments in a room but they forcefully entered the house and took the instruments, and in the process broke some of them.”

“We were told by the gunmen we were performing ‘satanic’ music, and were ordered to stop the music and empty the house which we all complied with immediately.”

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Voice of America – 17 August 2009:

‘Islamist Militants Restrict Somali Wedding Celebrations’

Shabelle Media Network / – 30 June 2009:

‘Somalia: Country Islamists Raid Traditional Dance Overnight Injured Two’

Somliland Press – 29 May 2009:

‘Somalia: Islamists in Kismayo Ban Filming In Weddings & Music’


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