Last Tuesday, the Somali Cabinet voted to introduce a bill that would make Islamic law, also known as Shariah, the basis of Somalia’s legal system. The bill is pending approval by parliament, which is expected to hear it in a matter of days.
In the past two years, fights between insurgents and pro-government forces have led to the deaths of thousands of Somalis. The new bill is an attempt to end insurgent attacks by weakening extreme groups within an increasingly divided Islamic insurgency. Several moderate insurgent groups, including the Islamic Party, have agreed to stop fighting if Shariah is formally introduced.
Although Somalia’s transitional charter recognizes Islam as the basis of Somali law, scholars have argued it is un-Islamic because it is not based on the Quran. Information Minister Farhan Ali Mohamed suggests that if the new bill is passed, the next step would be to bring Somalia’s constitution in line with Muslim principles.
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