Death sentence for not praying
Islamic regime spells out law for Muslims in Somali capital


Posted: July 6, 2006
5:00 p.m. Eastern


Muslims who fail to pray five times daily will be sentenced to death under the rule of Islamic clerics who have taken over the Somali capital Mogadishu.

"He who does not perform prayers will be considered as infidel, and Sharia law orders that that person be killed," said Sheikh Abdalla Ali, a founder and high-ranking official in the Supreme Islamic Council of Somalia, reported Agence France-Presse.

The edict was issued by a leading cleric speaking at the opening of an Islamic court in the capital last night, who added it was the duty of every Somali to implement the provisions of Sharia, or Islamic law.

The Quran requires Muslims to pray five times daily.

Mogadishu was taken over in June by militia now called the Conservative Council of Islamic Courts that routed a U.S.-backed alliance of warlords after four months of fighting. The U.S. wanted to stem what officials call "creeping Talibanization" of Somalia by the courts and harboring of terrorists, including al-Qaida members.

Late Tuesday, militia members broke up a protest against a ban on watching television, shooting dead two people among a crowd viewing a World Cup game at a local cinema.

The accused killers, however, face prosecution under Sharia law for shooting unarmed civilians and could be sentenced to death.

In recent months, according to AFP, Muslim militiamen have presided over several public executions ordered by Islamic courts.

Somalia is regarded as a predominantly moderate Muslim country, but the Islamists have vowed to impose Sharia law nationwide, challenging a mostly powerless transitional government.

Last month, the Islamic courts signed a mutual recognition pact with the government, but are at odds with the regime over a number of issues. The Islamists oppose a proposal to deploy foreign peacekeepers to help establish central authority.

The African nation has been in turmoil, with no effective government, for the past 16 years.

The leader of the Islamic militia, Sheik Hassan Dahir Aweys, is listed by the U.S. State Department as a suspected al-Qaida collaborator. Bush administration officials say Aweys was an associate of Osama bin Laden in the early 1990s.