Somali clerics give govt 120 days to declare rule of Islamic law

A meeting of more than 100 clerics in the capital also said African Union (AU) troops in Mogadishu should be withdrawn by the same deadline and no other foreign troops brought in.

Somali clerics give govt 120 days to declare rule of Islamic law

Somali religious leaders have given the new government 120 days to declare that the Horn of Africa country will be ruled according to Islamic law, a cleric said on Thursday.

A meeting of more than 100 clerics in the capital also said African Union (AU) troops in Mogadishu should be withdrawn by the same deadline and no other foreign troops brought in.

It was not clear what actions they would take if the deadlines were not met.

Somalia's new president, Sheikh Sharif Ahmed, was elected by parliament last month.

The al Shabaab and allied groups control much of southern and central Somalia.

"Within 120 days the Somali parliament must convene and announce that the country will be ruled according to Islamic law," said Sheikh Bashir Ahmed Salad, head of Somali Uluma Council for Correction and Reconciliation.

The council is made up of former clerics of the Islamic Courts -- once chaired by Ahmed. The Islamic Courts controlled the capital briefly in 2006 but were routed by government forces with Ethiopia.

"The parliament must make amendments to the current constitution, especially the parts which go against Islamic law," Salad said.

Ahmed said in a speech the day before his election that he wanted religion to be the foundation for the country, but rejected al Shabaab's views as having nothing to do with Islam.

"Looking after religion is the job of the government and the government should look after the way it is implemented and the people would have to agree this," Ahmed said last month.

Al Shabaab did not attend the clerics' meeting. A witness, however, told Reuters that some pro-al Shabaab clerics were there, but sat quietly till the end.

Reuters

Last Mod: 20 Şubat 2009, 13:23
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