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.

FILED UNDER: Africa, National Security, Terrorism, World Politics, , , , , , , , ,
Alex Knapp
About Alex Knapp
Alex Knapp is Associate Editor at Forbes for science and games. He was a longtime blogger elsewhere before joining the OTB team in June 2005 and contributed some 700 posts through January 2013. Follow him on Twitter @TheAlexKnapp.


  1. frank says:

    Finally Football will win, in Somalia, even in North America.

  2. anjin-san says:

    Kind of reminds you of the radio blacklist of the Dixie Chicks…

  3. Mark says:

    Kind of reminds you of the radio blacklist of the Dixie Chicks

    That is the stupidest damn thing I have read in a while. Tell you what: give me a call when it is the government who is banning radio stations from playing the Dixie Chicks rather than the radio stations’ choice not to play them.

  4. anjin-san says:


    Got a news flash dude. Radio in this country (Like pretty much everything but the internet. And the big boys are going after that as we speak) is now controlled by a handful of people.

    They have decided the chicks don’t get airplay because they don’t like their politics. Do you really thing playlist decisions are made at the station level now? Um, or do you know what a playlist is? Grow up pal, or at least get a clue.

    But I forget, supression of freedom is bad, except when neocons do it. Then it is good.

  5. davod says:

    How soon before we see beheading of women.

  6. Mark says:

    But I forget, supression of freedom is bad, except when neocons do it.

    You are still trying to suggest that the government had something to do with radio not playing the Dixie Chicks. Did George Bush call ClearChannel and threaten their executives with their lives if they played their music? I don’t think so.

    My point was you are trying to compare the actions of the Islamic militias with the actions of the U.S. government (and those evil “neocons”), when in fact there is no such actions by our government to have the Dixie Chicks banned. The fact that some corporate heads decided that they want to avoid playing the Dixie Chicks may draw cries of censorship, but they are free to play what they want and in no way is that government-enduced censorship – unless of course you are suggesting they be forced to play the Dixie Chicks?

  7. Mark says:

    Another thing I forgot to add is that there are plenty of people (I put anjin-san in this group) that think the First Amendment means that just because people are free to express an opinion, everyone is obligated to listen to that opinion. No. The Dixie Chicks are free to play their music and sing their songs to their heart’s content, but that does not mean that a radio station should be forced to play their music. Whether you like the idea of stations not playing the songs or not, it is still a business decision.

  8. anjin-san says:


    I never said, nor suggested, that government had something to do with the chick blacklisting. Are your arguments so weak that you have to misrepresent my position? Guess so.

    You speak as if a radio station was a stand alone entity with the owner sitting in a back office and stopping by to chat with the DJ. That’s about 30 years in the past now. Most media in America is controlled by a very small group of people who’s “business decisions” often, and I think it is true in this case, are an extension of their political agendas.

    The first amendment is diminished if we are all free to voice our opinions, but access to the media which is able to disseminate them is restricted.

  9. anjin-san
    I hate to gang up on anyone, but your post does appear to present the opinion that you are confused about the difference between Big Media and Big Gov’t.

    And the constitution does happen to say that your rights to free expression end where mine begin.
    If I don’t want to listen the Dixie Chick drivel – guess what – I don’t have to. That also includes inane commentaries by AlGore and Chillary and any other RepubliCrat or Demublican.

  10. BWE says:

    No, you don’t have to listen, the stations don’t have to play and the local store doesn’t have to sell coke if it doesn’t want to. But the dj couldn’t play dixie chicks even if he wanted to, his audience wanted him to and his station manager wanted him to to increase listenership. Because the ownership made the decision in spite of market forces. This was only possible because of corporate hegemony.The absense of competing stations due, in large part to the fcc rulings allowing more ownership in individual markets, only assures that, because of one or two ceos’ political position, no one will hear them. When McDonalds decides not to sell Coke, it’s a lot different than when the corner stop and rob decides not to sell it. And it would get a different reaction too.

  11. anjin-san says:


    The reason why Big Media now has been consolidated to the point where a handful of people now decide what we see and hear in this country is because Big Gov’t has enabled mass buyouts of media outlets.i Please refer to the telecommunications act of 1996.

    If you dont want to listen to the Dixie Chicks (guess what, neither do I. Not a very good band), the way to save your ears should be by changing the dial or turning it off the radio. Having their music taken off the air because of their political views strikes me as UN-American.

    Dixie Chick album sales clearly show they have an audience. The decision to keep them off the airwaves is not a business decision, it is a political one. Welcome to the new McCarthyism…

  12. LJD says:

    All that ranting, yet not a single shred of proof that keeping the chicks off the air is anything but a business decision. (I would be glad to read any link showing otherwise.) i.e. The powers that be can play whatever the hell they want, for whatever reason. IF they perceive the Chicks comments to in any way affect the volume of their listeners, then off they go.

  13. The decision to keep them off the airwaves is not a business decision, it is a political one.

    What a wonderful lack of grasp of the nature of commercial radio and a complete load of bollocks. Commercial radio plays whatever is needed to maintain their market share so that they get advertisers. Country fans boycotted the Dixie Chicks and campaigned to get em’ dumped. Country radio reacted.

    Its called capitalism and has sod all to do with censorship or media ownership or anything else.

  14. anjin-san says:

    Of course guys, the decision to not play the #1 album in the country is just a business decision. Refusing to play the popular stuff is how radio stations make money. Everyone knows that.

    Ahhh the wonders of Bushian logic…

  15. anjin-san says:


    Like the links that you use to show Saddam backed Al Qaeda and had WMD?

    LOL, I think I have some comic books out in the garage that are more impressive then your sources of documentation dude…

  16. LJD says:

    I’ll take that as an admission of your lack of evidence. Thanks for playing.

  17. anjin-san says:


    Why not trying to use your brain instead of looking for a link to somebodys blog where you can be told what you think?

    #1 album in country. Not getting played on radio. Somethings up. Duh…

  18. LJD says:


    Sit down, take a breath. You are hallucinating. I prescribe you lay off the Larry King for a while.

    By what standard are you measuring ‘not getting any play’?

    And, I suppose you support free speech, but not a station’s right to play whatever the F they want?