Somali militia ban school bell ringing

April 15, 2010 12:00 am

, MOGADISHU, Apr 15 – Somalia\’s Al Qaeda-linked militia on Thursday banned the ringing of bells in schools because Christian churches also sound bells.

The Shebab rebels in Jowhar, a town located 90 kilometres (55 miles) north of the capital Mogadishu, termed bell-ringing "un-Islamic."

"The bell they ring to summon students for classes is illegal in Islam. We know that ringing bells is a sign of the Christian churches," Sheik Farah Kalar, senior Shebab official, told reporters in Jowhar.

"All schools must stop using the bell to summon students, otherwise they will face punishment."

Head teachers who were handed the directive condemned it.

"We are totally astonished by the ban… Heads of schools met to discuss the matter and we are actually obeying their orders since we don\’t have any options," one of the head teachers told AFP on condition of anonymity.

"This is a totally ridiculous order," he added.

Another drastic religious edict by the Shebab\’s allies, Hezb al-Islam militia, saw Mogadishu\’s 14 private radio stations stop playing all music Tuesday because the extremist group said it was evil.

The hardline groups who control much of the lawless Somalia have imposed a raft of draconian rules under their brand of strict Islam, with offenders flogged in public, amputated or facing a firing squad.

Some of the offences include watching movies and football, playing video games. The groups have also prescribed dressing codes and hair styles.


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