Somalia: 14 radio stations in Somalia’s capital turned off music



14 radio stations in Somalia’s capital turned off music

All radio stations in Mogadishu stopped playing music on 13 April 2010, following an ultimatum by hardline Islamist militia, reported AFP.

By Freemuse

Tuesday 13 April 2010 was quickly declared ‘the day the music died’ in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu.

“But who killed it and how was it killed?,” Freemuse’s correspondent, Abdulkadir M. Wa’ays, asks.

His own reply is: “The music was not actually killed by the Islamists; It was killed by the owners of the radio stations in Mogadishu. Their unanimous compliance with the Islamists’s music ban represents nothing but shift of allegiance as well as a new alliance of convenience between them and the Islamist groups. In fact, the young journalists at these stations, who are now making most of the talking about the music ban, are innocents and victims of their employers”

Meanwhile, the name of the Hisbul Islam (also spelled: Hezb al-Islam) group of radical Islamic militia, which controls patches of the war-wracked Somali capital, has become known all over the world, after their top commander in Mogadishy, Ma’allin Hashi Mohamed Farah, announced the 10 days ultimatum to shut down socalled ‘evil’ and ‘un-Islamic’ music broadcasts.

On 14 April 2010, a Google News search on the name showed that 556 articles had been published about the militia group in the medias linked to the news provider.

15 minutes of (terror) fame
Freemuse Programme Manager Ole Reitov believes the music ban in Mogadishu primarily is a symbolic case which gives Hisbul Islam and their leaders attention and ’15 minutes of fame’ in the international media. He expects that there may be public reprisals against those who violate the ban, but he does not believe Islamists necessarily will resort to killing anyone.

“It’s not likely they will murder anyone, but it may very well be that they need symbolic action. For instance, this could be to take radio journalists out in a public place and whip them. Part of the power of language is to create fear. And when this is the aim, then music is a good symbolic target,” told Ole Reitov to the Norwegian radio listeners in an interview with NRK, the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation. 16 people have commented the article on NRK’s website.

Click to read Freemuse's Somalia analysis
Ma’allin Hashi Mohamed Farah

Click to read more about music in Somalia on

Read Abdulkadir M. Wa’ays’ Somalia analysis

7 April 2010:

‘Music ban on radio stations was expected’


Gabiley News – 13 April 2010:

‘Somali radio stations comply with Islamists’ music ban’

Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation – 13 April 2010:

‘Musikkforbud i Somalia’  ‘Music ban in Somalia’

Entertainment Daily – 13 April 2010:

‘The day the music died: Somali radio stations heed Islamist order to stop playing songs’

Agence France Presse, AFP – 13 April 2010:

‘Somalia Islamists force music off air’

Dig deeper

BBC News – 7 April 2010:

‘Somali anger at threat to music’

Click to listen / right-click to download mp3 audio file   Somalisan – recording of Hashi Mohamed Farah’s press conference in Mogadishu:
‘Shirkii jaraid ee macalin xaashi maxamed Faarax oo dhameystiran halkaan ka dhagyso’ – 5 April 2010:

‘Somalia: Islamist Group Orders Mogadishu Radios to Stop Airing Music’

Daily Nation – 4 April 2010:

‘No music, Somali radio ordered’

Ritzau / Jyllands-Posten – 4 April 2010: (In Danish language)

‘Islamister i Somalia: Slut med musik’

National Union of Somali Journalists – 3 April 2010:

‘Mogadishu Media Houses Ordered to End Broadcasting Music and Songs’

Somalisan – 3 April 2010:

‘Xisbul Islaam oo amaro culus ku soo rogay Idacadaha ku yaala…’

BBC News – 12 March 2010:

‘Mogadishu residents told to leave Somali capital’

ReliefWeb – United Nations Monitoring Group on Somalia – 10 March 2010:

‘Report of the Monitoring Group on Somalia pursuant to Security Council resolution 1853 (2008) (S/2010/91)’

Time – 19 May 2009:

‘In Somalia, Another Government Teetering?’

Go to top
Related reading on