Posted by: becketfund | February 19, 2009

Somalia: Clerics Call for Moderate Islamic Law

MOGADISHU – Somali religious leaders have given the new government 120 days to declare that the Horn of Africa country will be ruled according to Islamic law, Reuters reported on February 19. A meeting of more than 100 mainly moderate clerics in the battle-scarred capital also said that African Union (AU) troops in Mogadishu should be withdrawn by the same deadline and no other foreign troops should be brought in. Somalia’s new president, Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, faces the difficult task of bringing peace to Somalia for the first time in 18 years after being elected by parliament in January 2009. The main threat to stability comes from the hardline Islamists faction, al Shabaab. Al Shabaab and allied groups control much of southern and central Somalia and want to impose their strict version of Islamic law. Diplomats in the region hope that Ahmed, Somalia’s first Islamist president, will be able to bring moderate Islamists on board and marginalize al Shabaab. Sheikh Bashir Ahmed Salad, head of Somali Uluma Council for Correction and Reconciliation,  said that a more moderate Islamic law should be implemented — not the strict version that al Shabaab fighters want to impose throughout the country. “The parliament must make amendments to the current constitution, especially the parts which go against Islamic law,” Salad said.

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