Somalia

Radio Stations Bow to Islamic Music Ban

Most radio stations in southern and central Somalia have bowed to a ban on music, which militants say violates Islamic law. The insurgent group Hizbul Islam issued an order April 3 telling all FM stations in the area to cease music broadcasts. They had 10 days to comply or would be silenced. (The ban includes commercial jingles.) All stations in Mogadishu complied except the two protected outside forces: Radio Mogadishu, guarded by African Union peacekeepers, and Radio Bar-Kulan, funded by the United Nations and based in Nairobi. Somalis largely get their news from radio, and some stations opened their programs with the sounds of birds or cars. One used "a recording from a war zone"—an ironic gesture, a source told The Guardian, as firefights are frequent in the capital, thanks to the militants. The Islamists have also banned bras, beards, beauty salons, soccer, and movies.