Somali Islamists Ban World Cup
The Islamist militias who recently took control of Mogadishu and other parts of Somalia have sparked protests for, among other things, banning citizens from watching the World Cup.
Islamist militiamen shot in the air to disperse hundreds of Somalis protesting early on Saturday against moves by sharia courts to stop them watching the World Cup in the capital Mogadishu, residents said.
The football tournament had drawn huge crowds to television screens set up under trees and iron-sheeted shacks, providing some escape from the tension that has gripped Mogadishu since Islamists seized control from an alliance of warlords on Monday.
Witnesses said scores of young men set fire to tyres late on Friday in protests that carried on into the early hours of Saturday after Islamist gunmen pulled the plug on makeshift cinemas airing the football tournament.
As I understand it, the Somali Islamists have also banned other forms of “Western” entertainment, such as movies, but it’s banning the World Cup that’s probably the most important to the mind of your average Somali.
They may not realize it yet, but this is actually a huge blow for the Somali Islamists. I don’t think I need to insult anyone’s intelligence by discussing the intense fandom that surrounds soccer just about everywhere but America. Clearly, large numbers of Somalis are willing to stand up to armed people in order for a chance to watch the game. But now the Islamists have clearly established themselves as occupiers. They are, in essence, telling regular Somalis that “we are not like you, but you’re going to live like us.”
It’s that kind of action that leads to riots and insurgencies. And revolutions.
Despite the justified laments of people over the past few days over the Islamist takeover of Somalia, the Islamists haven’t won there. Not by a long shot.