Muslim Hate of Television

Al-Shabaab uses Islam to justify television ban in Barawe

By Dahir Jibril in Mogadishu
November 06, 2013

Using loudspeakers mounted on vehicles, al-Shabaab banned the people of Barawe from watching television, saying it harms their Islamic principles, and ordered them to turn in their televisions and satellite dishes to al-Shabaab officials.

The militants announced the ban October 28th and gave residents five days to hand over their equipment to the Barawe municipal office, said Mursal Yarisow, a 54-year-old traditional elder in Barawe.

"I was really surprised when I heard about this ugly order that is forbidding us from watching TV while we are in our own homes," he told Sabahi. "The only channels my family and I watch are the Somali channels, such as Universal TV, Horn Cable TV and Somali Channel TV, so that we can stay informed on global news."

"I am not sure where al-Shabaab has seen or watched these other channels that they say are harmful to the religion," he said.

The ban is a pretext for preventing people from staying informed about news and current affairs via Somalia's independent television stations, Yarisow said.

"I and other [elders] like me are adults who understand what these men are targeting with the television ban," he said. "They want people to stay ignorant of the hatred Somalis and the world have against al-Shabaab, and they want the residents of Barawe to be people whose ears and eyes are covered."

The ban came just weeks after a raid by US Navy SEALs in Barawe targeted al-Shabaab commander Abdulkadir Mohamed Abdulkadir, who goes by the alias Ikrima, who was believed to be living at a local beach house.

Al-Shabaab reportedly implemented a similar television ban in the Lower Shabelle town of Bulomarer last month.

"Al-Shabaab is engaged in the biggest crime in the world, which is to kill people without cause or label them as non-Muslims. They treat people as though they are converting them to Islam," Yarisow said. "I am deeply saddened that they come to people who are Muslims and question their belief in Islam."

Residents who keep televisions accused of being infidels

Barawe resident Saida Ali, a 41-year-old mother of six, expressed indignation about the ban.

"I am the mother in my house, not al-Shabaab. When I was buying the TV from the market at 41 years of age, I did not buy it to watch indecent films or anything that can be harmful to my faith," she told Sabahi. "If they are being honest, all they needed to tell us is to guard our children against the channels that broadcast indecent films instead of telling us to bring our property to the station."

"Al-Shabaab has not spared us anything and have trampled on our human rights. They have made us into savage people who have no knowledge of the Islamic religion, but it is clear that al-Shabaab are the people who have no understanding of the religion, and there is no doubt about that," she said.

Liban Abdirahman, 34, who owns a shop in Barawe that sells lamps and assorted items, said he complied with the al-Shabaab ban and took his TV and satellite dish to the municipal office as ordered.

"We are civilians and we are not armed so we are forced to adhere to any unreasonable demand from al-Shabaab, because anyone who disobeys the order and fails to take the TV equipment to the station will be accused of being an infidel who is disobeying the orders of Islam," he said.

What al-Shabaab is doing is nothing short of oppression, Abdirahman told Sabahi.

"[They are] violating our rights to know what is happening the world and in our own country. They particularly do not want us to know the progress residents in areas liberated from al-Shabaab are achieving," he said. "That is the main thing they want people to be in the dark about."

Abdirahman called on the Somali government to intervene immediately and end the abuse inflicted on the people of Barawe by al-Shabaab.

"Killing someone is nothing to al-Shabaab," Abdirahman said. "They have no roots or traces of Islam and everyone knows they are lying about Islam."

Residents said they are not aware whether al-Shabaab intends to destroy or sell the television sets and other equipment they confiscated.

Religious hardliners declare 'jihad' on Afghanistan's TV talent shows

Religious hardliners have declared a jihad against the television talent shows that have taken Afghanistan by storm, condemning the way they feature unveiled women singing and dancing.

By Zubair Babakarkhail, Kabul and Rob Crilly
21 Jul 2013
The Telegraph

The programmes modelled on Western favourites such as The Voice and Pop Idol are hugely popular in a country with a young population and where television ownership has rocketed since the Taliban were ousted from Kabul in 2001.

At the same time there is a growing backlash against what many see as foreign values.

Abdul Sattar Khawasi, a parliamentarian, is leading the campaign and has secured a promise from the Afghan minister of information to review the programmes.

"I have already made it clear in the lower house that I am going to start a jihad against these kind of shows and programmes on our television channels," he said.

Swathes of Afghanistan remain beholden to conservative clerics. Women are rarely seen outside the home and only then hidden beneath a burka.

A lively media scene is, however, a reminder that things have changed since the five-year reign of the Taliban, when television, films and videos were banned.

Recent years have brought a boom in broadcasting. Today some 75 television stations and 175 radio stations are on air, numbers frequently cited as evidence of Afghanistan's growing democracy and freedom.

And with that has come an almost insatiable demand for talent and reality shows.

Among them are a programme to find the next football star and last year, for Ramadan, Tolo TV developed a Koran Idol-style contest to appease more traditional tastes. Islamic scholars judged contestants on their ability to recite Islamic verses.

Such is the demand that Simon Cowell is planning to launch a local version of Britain's Got Talent.

The talent shows have long been controversial however.

During the first season of Afghan star a local copy of Pop Idol one woman was forced into hiding when her headscarf slipped as she danced.

This year, Voice of Afghanistan, has been singled out for particular criticism. It follows the established format of The Voice, with blind auditions and battle rounds.

It features Aryana Sayeed, who was born in Kabul but now lives in London having established herself as an international star, as one of three singing coaches.

The glamorous singer has faced a barrage of criticism on social media sites for not wearing a headscarf and wearing figure-hugging clothes.

Messages posted on the show's facebook page suggest she might be better off working as an escort and complain that Afghan women are shown dancing.

Mr Khawasi added: "Look at its name, The Voice of Afghanistan, how sweet the name is and how great it looks, but unfortunately look at the contents of the show it does not represent the culture and customs of our country."

Aminullah Qaderi 24, a student at Kabul University, said Afghan producers must show Afghan culture and Afghan initiatives.

"I have watched The Voice of Afghanistan a little bit, but I did not like it because the way the judges are dressed and especially that female one. It is totally a Western thing," he said.

"I would not like any of my family member to continue following this show."

Some Pakistanis See Quake as God's Reprimand

A Muslim cleric in one northern town blames cable TV for inviting divine wrath. Others fault Musharraf's close ties to Washington.

By Paul Watson
Times Staff Writer

October 21, 2005

GARHI HABIBULLAH, Pakistan The black wires running through the ruins in this mountain town struck a local Muslim cleric as a message from God.

The wires had delivered cable television to about 300 homes and businesses in the town, which was devastated by the Oct. 8 earthquake.

Imam Shafqat ur-Rehman is convinced that the natural disaster was God's punishment for people viewing too much cable smut.

"Cable TV is a source of vulgarity and obscenity," said the imam, who heads a local madrasa, or Islamic school. "There are various programs on cable that a true Muslim just cannot watch.

"I do not know the exact names because I haven't viewed them myself," the cleric added. "I have no interest in such things. But my friends tell me they have seen them at roadside hotels and such. They show men and women hugging each other. They also kiss one another. And there are nude pictures."

For four years, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has tried to lead this Muslim majority country of 162 million people away from religious extremism and down a path of what he calls "enlightened moderation."

His success is crucial to winning the battle of ideas at the heart of the U.S.-declared war on terrorism. The magnitude 7.6 quake dealt a blow to his efforts by giving renewed strength to extremists.

In parts of the quake zone, survivors say Islamic militants, many of them veterans of the rebellion in the Indian-controlled portion of Kashmir, were among the first people to rescue victims trapped in the rubble. It happened in Garhi Habibullah, Rehman said, because Pakistani soldiers didn't arrive until later.

A bloc of hard-line Islamic parties forms the opposition in the national parliament and governs the seriously damaged North-West Frontier Province, which includes this town. They have argued for years that the president is going too far in tying Pakistan to the West.

After the quake, many people lost all doubt that Musharraf's approach was wrong.

But, like the rest of Pakistan, Garhi Habibullah is divided over whether the quake, whose death toll stands at nearly 80,000, was an act of divine retribution.

Ihsan Nazeem, 17, doubts that God is against all television.

"TV sets, whether they're used by poor or rich people, provide information," said Nazeem, who survived the collapse of a boys' high school. "It depends how you use it. Some people watch music video channels, some watch news channels. It's anyone's choice."

This remote town, in the mountains about 100 miles north of Islamabad, the capital, first got cable seven months ago. Hundreds of subscribers signed up, despite an anti-cable campaign by the imam and his supporters.

Cable opponents were most upset about the English-language programs beamed in by satellite to the distributor. The imam singled out HBO, which broadcast Hollywood movies and TV shows such as "Sex and the City." Another popular cable channel here was Rupert Murdoch's Star TV, which airs "Desperate Housewives" and "The Simple Life 2."

Mohammed Ikhlaq, 21, whose two sisters and sister-in-law were seriously injured when his house collapsed in the quake, said he and everyone else on his street had cable. He agreed with the imam that they had suffered for their mistake.

"We are Muslims and we are supposed to follow our Islamic teachers, which we had abandoned," Ikhlaq said.

Rehman, a young man with a gaunt face and a long black beard, sees God's selective hand in the pattern of the devastation. Houses that had cable connections were flattened, while others weren't, he claimed.

The imam's Arabia Islamia madrasa doesn't have TV sets. Photographing the human form is an insult to God, and therefore not condoned by Islam, he said.

But near the madrasa, the local cable company had run wires past a wall, which collapsed in the quake while the school escaped damage. None of the 150 students were harmed, whereas several hundred students in the town's government schools were crushed to death.

The imam took that as a divine warning to Musharraf, who has insisted that the country's tens of thousands of madrasas register with authorities by year's end so that officials can monitor their curricula and funding.

The government has threatened to close any schools that refuse to comply. A small minority of Pakistan's madrasas have been linked to terrorist activities, including the July 7 London transit bombings, which killed 52 people and the four bombers.

"President Musharraf should learn a lesson from the earthquake," Rehman said. "Our religious seminaries remained safe while regular schools and colleges were badly hit."

Many Pakistanis share Rehman's view that the cataclysm must be a sign of God's wrath. Hours after the earthquake, as hundreds of Pakistanis vented their fears on nighttime radio phone-in shows, they repeated rumors that some saw as proof the country had deviated from Islam.

They talked of naked bodies found in the rubble of Islamabad's upscale Margalla Towers apartment complex, which had partially collapsed in the temblor. Another caller said wine bottles were discovered in the ruins. Alcohol is forbidden by Islam. One claimed men and women's bodies were found together in the swimming pool.

Tauseeq Haider, a popular radio and TV host, says "a very limited section of the population" holds the view that God punished Pakistan.

But Rehman thinks Pakistan's drift toward the West, its declining morals and the earthquake are warnings of a looming apocalypse described in the Koran, Islam's holy book, which Muslims believe was revealed to the prophet Muhammad.

In Garhi Habibullah, the quake inflicted the worst damage on the girls' high school. The school had 887 students, more than half of whom survived. The bodies of 323 girls were dug up from the ruins, and about 80 corpses are believed to still be buried in the rubble, residents said.

There was nothing wrong with girls being at school, the imam said. But they were not fully covered, offending God, he added.

Standing amid the splintered wood, broken brick and twisted steel rods that once made up the school, Niaz Akhtar scoffed at the imam's suggestion.

"There wasn't a single TV set in this school," he said.

"It was just an unfortunate moment for us. Cable TV is everywhere in Pakistan, but others weren't hurt. This imam is just giving his own opinion. He's a liar."


Indonesia militant cleric targets steamy TV shows
Wed Sep 20, 2006

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesian TV shows that feature scantily dressed women are more dangerous than bombs, a militant Muslim cleric who served a jail term for links to the Bali bombings was quoted as saying on Wednesday.

Abu Bakar Bashir said local television stations should offer more religious programs instead of showing half-naked women.

"If you ask which are more dangerous, half-naked women or the Bali bombs? The answer is of course women who bare their bodies," Bashir was quoted as saying by Antara news agency.

He said such shows could shake the faith of men and invite God's curse.

Television programs in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, are increasingly liberal. Private channels offer late night comedy shows featuring scantily-dressed women.

Bashir, 67, left a Jakarta jail on June 14 after serving time for being part of a conspiracy behind the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people.

Indonesian and Western officials had described Bashir as the spiritual leader of Jemaah Islamiah.

Jemaah Islamiah is an armed movement backing the creation of an Islamic superstate linking historically Muslim Indonesia, Malaysia, southern Philippines and southern Thailand.

In the past, it cooperated closely with al Qaeda's global campaign against Western targets, but in recent years many in Jemaah Islamiah have focused more on the regional struggle.

Bashir has consistently denied any connection to the Bali bombing or other attacks blamed on Jemaah Islamiah, which he has said does not exist.