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Somalia: Sharia Law

(Mar. 19, 2009) On March 10, 2009, members of the Council of Ministers (Cabinet) of Somalia approved a proposal for the introduction of Islamic law as the law of the land. Of the 36 members of the Council, 20 were present, and their endorsement was unanimous. Speaking about the importance of the step taken by the Somali Cabinet, Information Minister Farhan Mohamoud said, “Islamic Sharia is the only option to get solutions for the problems in this country [Somalia].” The proposal will need to be presented to the legislature for approval. (Cabinet Approves Implementing Islamic Law, SHABELE MEDIA NETWORK, Mar. 10, 2009, available at

The Somali President, Sharif Sheik Ahmed, who was elected only about a month ago, agreed to impose Sharia law in Somalia to avoid a clash with tribal leaders. This deal was reached through “talks between the Somali government and its clan opponents, and mediation by regional religious leaders.” (Somali Leader Agrees [sic] Sharia Law, BBC, Feb. 28, 2009, available at Speaking to reporters in Kampala, Uganda, Ahmed said: “[t]he purpose of this decision is to ensure that he who claims that he is fighting to have Sharia no longer has a reason to fight. Sharia does not allow for blood to be shed for political reasons. So that door is closed.” (Somali President Defends Plans for Islamic Law, AFP, Mar. 13, 2009, available at