Somali town bans mixed gender dancing at weddings

A town in southern Somalia has banned men and women dancing together at weddings, a local radio station is reporting.

Barawe’s district commissioner cited Islamic law as the reason for the dancing ban.

It used to be common for the sexes to intermingle on dance floors in Somalia, until the Islamist militant group al-Shabab began to take over territory in 2007 – imposing a strict version of Sharia in these areas.
Barawe was under the occupation of the militants for five years until 2012.

Commissioner Adan Omar Madobe also said his administration had banned women from wearing the full-face veil, or niqab – it leaves the area around the eyes clear

He told Radio Kulmiye this decision had been taken for security reasons: “We have seen incidents where men wear a veil to disguise themselves as women with the aim of doing harm to the public.”

It is not the first Somali town to do so – Jowhar banned them in 2015 for the same reasons.

Niqabs have been widely adopted in Somalia in the last decade.

The commissioner encouraged women to instead wear the hijab – which does not cover the face – and long, heavy clothing.

Earlier this year, several people died in an explosion at a stadium in Barawe, blamed on al-Shabab.

The militants disapprove of the playing and watching of football, which is outlawed in their areas.