Al-Shabaab orders ban on TV station

Members of the hardline al Shabaab Islamist rebel group hold their weapons in Somalia's capital Mogadishu


Al-Shabaab, one of the Islamist movements opposing the Somali government yesterday decreed a total ban on Somali speaking Universal TV.

The group accused the London-based broadcaster, widely viewed in Somalia, of showing cartoons negatively depicting Prophet Mohammed.
In the decree issued in Mogadishu, the top Council of Al-Shabaab quoted verses of the Koran (Muslims’ Holy Book) explaining the punishment to be faced by anybody undermining Prophet Mohammed a result, the movement described Universal TV as a tool used by non-Muslims to undermine Islam.

Danish cartoons

The TV had shown on May 28, Danish made cartoons that were classified as offensive to Islam. They were contained in a news item sent from South Africa.

The decree specified that the ban on the TV has been effective ever since it broadcast a programme showing clips containing cartoons produced in Denmark that were offending the prophet.

“The broadcaster is prohibited from operating in territories ruled by the Somali Islamists,” said the statement.

All the staff working for the TV and the contractors using it to advertise their products and services have been ordered to cancel business and service contracts.