More Shades of the Taliban: School Bells Banned in Somalia for Being Too Christian

Saturday, April 17, 2010
Al-Shahab militia in Somalia

First, it was radio music. Now, it is school bells that have been outlawed in Somalia, under orders from al-Shabab, the country’s most powerful Islamist insurgent group. Al-Shabab ordered teachers in the town of Jowhar, north of the capital city of Mogadishu, not to use bells to adjourn classes, claiming they sounded too much like Christian church bells.

The ban on radios playing music came from another Islamist group, Hizbul-Islam.
Unable to use bells, teachers are reportedly clapping their hands and beating on tables or doors to let students know that class has ended.
The list of banned activities in Somalia also includes watching movies and soccer. The growing restrictions by fundamentalist groups have reminded many experts of what took place in Afghanistan in the late 1990s after the Taliban took control.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Militants Ban School Bells in a Town in Somalia (by Mohammed Ibrahim, New York Times)


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