Thursday, May 10, 2007

More in the Hijab Wars - this time Somalia.

Well, technically they are the niqab, not the hijab...

Somali gov't forces begin to seize women hijab in Mogadishu

Security forces of the Somali transitional government have begun seizing and burning women's face veils in the country's capital Mogadishu in an attempt to stop insurgents from disguising them for the sake of carrying out attacks.

Residents said the soldiers were ordering women in burkas to remove their face veils on Wednesday but the operation was later stopped by their superior.

"Every policeman and government soldier has orders to confiscate veils from veiled women," Somali police spokesman Ali Nur reportedly said.

Somali news portal Shabelle News reported on Thursday a woman was injured when two hand grenades went off in the Somali capital on Wednesday where government soldiers were confiscating and burning face veils worn by women near the city's main Bakara market.

The Supreme Council of Islamic Courts (SCIC) which was driven out of Mogadishu at the beginning of this year encouraged wearing of face veils by women.

Traditionally Somali women tend to just cover their heads, but in recent years burkas which cover the entire face and body and niqabs - a veil for the face that leaves the area around the eyes clear - have become more popular.

The Somali authorities say some of the SCIC remnants have been caught wearing veils to masquerade as women so as to carry attacks on government troops.