News on an Africa music blog shows Africa remains a continent with trouble spots. In Mogadishu, Somalia, music radio stations are struggling to reconcile two disparate directives.
On the one hand, the stations received an ultimatum from Islam in April, 2010 to stop playing music. On the other hand, the government warned that any station that complied with the threat would be shut down.
The conflict underscores the question of exactly who is in charge in Somalia, a near anarchical country. A brave contingent of independent journalists perseveres, even under the threat of violence.
The insurgent Islamic group Hizbul warned of “serious consequences” to any radio station that did not adhere to a deadline to halt all music, due to its “un-Islamic” nature. Some defiant station owners filled the dead air with recitation of lyrics, and sound effects of loud items like gunshots, animals whinnying, and engines revving, as they determined their next step.
The government meanwhile was taken aback by this challenge to authority and held a news conference announcing that any station that buckled to the demand by Hizbul would be ordered shut down.
The general secretary of the Mogadishu administration of the Transitional Federal Government , Abdikafi Hilowle Osman, accused the broadcasters of “working with” the radicals.
The fight over radio stations is the latest problem in an escalating conflict over Western ideology in Islamic land. The Islamic radicals seek to purge these influences and have even threatened to ban Voice of America and BBC programs.
Also recently, in a village north of Mogadishu, the country’s most powerful insurgent group Shabab, banned school bells there. It said the noise too closely resembled the sound of church bells and was therefore un-Islamic.
All internationally recognized observances such as World AIDS Day were banned as well. For a lighter side of African music news, please stay tuned to this blog.