A Somali football fan adjusts the Television set for the group D game between Ghana and Serbia Photo: EPA
Unbeleivable as it may sound but according to news reports Somali religious extremists have banned watching soccer matches on TV screens!
It seems Somali militants are following footsteps of their Taliban brethren who banned music, TV, sports and all other recreational activities during their reign of terror in Afghanistan.
This absurd ban by Somali Taliban reminds me of an incident:during Mullah Omar’s rule, Taliban arrested Pakistani soccer players for wearing shorts and had their heads shaved as punishment.
Unbelievable as it may sound but according to news reports Somali religious extremists have banned watching soccer matches on TV screens ! It seems Somali militants are following footsteps of their Taliban brethren who banned music, TV, sports and all other recreational activities during their reign of terror in Afghanistan ! This absurd ban by Somali Taliban reminds me of an incident:Taliban arrest Pakistani soccer players for wearing shorts and had their heads shaved as punishment.
Taliban arrest soccer players for wearing shorts
By Owen Bennett-Jones in Islamabad
July 17, 2000
A Pakistani football team that went to play some matches in the Afghan city of Kandahar has returned home after being arrested for wearing shorts.
The Taleban authorities said the wearing of shorts during a match violated the Islamic dress code.
The players were not only arrested, but also had their heads shaved as punishment.
The Pakistani team, from the border town of Chaman, had gone to Kandahar for a series of friendly matches.
On Saturday, they were in the middle of their third match, when the Taleban authorities moved into the stadium arresting 12 members of the squad.
Another five Pakistani players managed to escape.
But the 12 who were detained had their heads shaved as punishment before being sent back to Pakistan.
They are now back in their homes in Chaman. Pakistani officials there have refused to comment on the incident.
Reports from Kandahar say that several spectators were injured in a stampede that followed the arrests.
The Taleban have frequently been criticised by Western governments and non-governmental organisations for enforcing strict rules on what women must wear.
They have been criticised in particular for the requirement that women cover their heads and faces.
But as these arrests show, there are also rules which apply to men.
The Taleban have banned men from wearing western clothes and a display of flesh, even in a sporting event, can be considered a punishable offence.
According to Annova (7/17/00) Maulvi Hameed Akhund, a Taliban official, said: “They were arrested because they violated the Islamic dress code, which outlaws exposing any parts of the body.”
World Cup 2010: Somali football fans executed for watching matches
Two Somali football fans have been killed by Islamic militants after being caught watching World Cup matches.
By Aislinn Laing, Southern Africa correspondent
Published: 14 Jun 2010
The deaths happened on Saturday near the capital Mogadishu when members of the Hizbul Islam group stormed a house where people were watching Nigeria play Argentina.
A further 10 people were arrested by the group, which has imposed a strict version of Islam in the areas they control in southern and central Somalia.
The following night, another 30 people including a 15-year-old boy were arrested as the watched the Germany-Australia game in two private homes in the town of Afgoye.
A spokesman for the group, Sheikh Mohamed Abdi Aros, said the rest of Somalia should respect their ban on the World Cup – the first to be hosted in Africa – and focus instead on “pursuing holy jihad”.
“We are warning all the youth of Somalia not to dare watch these World Cup matches. It is a waste of money and time and they will not benefit anything or get any experience by watching mad men jumping up and down,” he said.
The ban, which has seen radio stations around the city taken off air for playing music, has resulted in people flocking to public cinemas in the few Government-controlled areas of the country.
Ahmed Santos used to live in an area of Somalia run by militants, but now is in a government-controlled area.
“I can now freely watch the matches,” he said. “I am so sorry that some of my friends who are now living where I was once don’t have that chance to watch the World Cup. I really feel sorry for them.”
Others are risking the wrath of the militants, such is their love of the beautiful game.
One man, who lives in the militant-controlled livestock market area of the city said he watched Algeria-Slovenia at home with his family.
“I have one eye on the TV and the other on the door, and the sound turned down,” he said.
According to Adrian Michaels:
Real life intrudes. Two Somalis have been killed by militant adherents to a certain brand of Islam for the crime of watching the World Cup. Another tells the BBC that he had been watching Algeria v Slovenia at home. “I have one eye on the TV and the other on the door, and the sound turned down.” Sometimes there are more important reasons for watching in silence than escaping the drone of vuvuzelas.
The idiocy of authoritarianism is obvious to all but its most blind practitioners on occasions such as these. How could “gangs of Islamists”, as reported, be roaming the streets of Somalia with an eye to preventing the watching of football on television? How could that help win over people to the cause? With sincere apologies to the deceased, if the purpose is to stop the decadence and lusting after entertainment, we all know a couple of teams that we could recommend watching all day.
A spokesman for one militant group says of the World Cup: “It is a waste of money and time and they [youths watching the games] will not benefit anything or get any experience by watching mad men jumping up and down.” Except of course when mad men are jumping up and down, on people, waving guns and waging civil war. Ridiculous.