Welcome to Scribd, the world's digital library. Read, publish, and share books and documents. See more
Download
Standard view
Full view
of .
Look up keyword
Like this
7Activity
0 of .
Results for:
No results containing your search query
P. 1
Women, Islamists and Militry Regime in Somalia

Women, Islamists and Militry Regime in Somalia

Ratings: (0)|Views: 751|Likes:
This paper attempts to pull back the veil of history and examine the dynamics of women, Islamists and the military regime within the socio-political context of Somalia. It makes the argument that though the Family Law of 1975 placed women in the national agenda, indeed, it was a blow against the gradual empowerment of women, and caused enormous hardships to women.
This paper attempts to pull back the veil of history and examine the dynamics of women, Islamists and the military regime within the socio-political context of Somalia. It makes the argument that though the Family Law of 1975 placed women in the national agenda, indeed, it was a blow against the gradual empowerment of women, and caused enormous hardships to women.

More info:

Published by: Dr. Abdurahman M. Abdullahi ( baadiyow) on May 14, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

Availability:

Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as DOC, PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less

11/21/2010

pdf

text

original

 
Women, Islamists and the Military Regime in Somalia:The Reform of the Family Law and its RepercussionsIntroduction
 The military regime that came to power in Somalia in 1969 launched the newFamily Law on January 11, 1975. With this law, the President declared thatthe Qur’anic verses on inheritance were outdated and would not have anylegal power in the new socialist Somalia. This pronouncement caught theSomali public by surprise, since it overtly contradicted historically practicedIslamic Shari’a law. Though public reaction was timid and cautious becauseof the ruthless and repressive nature of the regime, a small number of Islamic scholars did have the courage to criticize the Family Law from thepulpit of one of the mosques. Panicking, the regime unleashed its securityapparatus and detained these Islamic scholars and their sympathizers. On January 23, 1975, the military regime executed 10 of the Islamic scholarswhile incarcerating hundreds more. The military regime’s discourse whenenacting the new Family Law held that it was seeking to modernize thesociety through socialist transformation, making the genders ‘equalcomrades’. As they argued, socialist reform would be deficient unless womenwere librated from the bonds of culture and religion in a revolutionary legalreform. Against this, the Islamic scholars focused their discursive defence of the last and most sacred domain of the Islamic Shari’a – the family – from thepervasive secularism of the military regime. The mêlée between the Islamic scholars and the secular nationalists tookplace over the issue of the role and status of women: each party sought toeither modernize the role of women or preserve religious society. Yet in allthis, it seems that Somali women were not much engaged in the initiation ordenunciation of the Family Law, and most likely had much more importantpriorities and demands. Indeed, women were suffering primarily because of the anachronistic patriarchal system, which both the regime and the Islamic
1
 
scholars equally represented.
1
Historians and scholars said little on thisimportant historical event, and indeed the situation matches Fleishmann’snotion of a “history in search for historians”. Considering that this event isone of the defining moments of Somali history, this paper attempts to pullback the veil of history and examine the dynamics of women, Islamists andthe military regime within the socio-political context of Somalia. It makes theargument that though the Family Law placed women in the national agenda,indeed, it was a blow against the gradual empowerment of women, andcaused enormous hardships to women.
1. Defining Key Concepts
Women, Islamists and the military regime are not separate categories of analysis, but are instead interdependent groups interacting within the Somalisociety. For example, beyond the philosophy that underpins its cosmologicaloutlook, Islam in its social aspects very much accounts for social realities,influencing economic, political, cultural and gender relations within giventime and space. In this it has maintained flexibility and reformablity within itsbroader paradigm, while delineations have always existed in interpretingsocial issues in accordance with a set of methodologies employed by thescholars of the subject matter. These methodologies have led to the differentinterpretations of Islam, as reflected in the existing five major schools of  jurisprudence.
2
In this paper, the term Islamist is used to denote
 
the variousIslamic scholars in both traditional and modern Islamic movements who areconsidered bearers of Islamic knowledge and protectors of Islam againstsecularizing forces. They are the experts of jurisprudence and those engagedin teaching Islam, and those guiding the religious aspects of the Somalicommunities. Meanwhile, in this paper the term ‘woman’ is used to signify
1
Gender relations in Somalia are derived mostly from the dominant pastoral culture basedon the division of labour in the harsh environment and volatile security predicaments. Mostof the new elites and Islamic scholars are recent immigrants from the pastoral areas.Reforming that culture in the urban setting is challenging.
2
These schools are the four Sunni schools, namely Hanaffi, Malikki, Shafi’i and Hambali, and Ja’fari of the Shi’a school.
2
 
the ‘Muslim womanwho is part of the larger Somali society, yet isnevertheless marginalised within the cultural system and within class, clanand race dynamics.
3
The Family Law denotes the codified statutory personallaw pronounced by the military regime on January 11, 1975. This law, thoughsupported by a small coterie of elite urban women, affected all womenregardless of their location within power configurations. The military regimeruled Somalia from 1969 to 1990, taking a socialist orientation as its guidingphilosophy for social transformation and development, and assigned moreroles that are prominent to women.
4
 2.
Women in the Societal Framework 
 Traditional power configurations in Somalia bind together two groups whoperform complementary functions in the society. The first is the worldlyfunction of the primordial or territorial clan groups, bounded by their diverseversions of clan laws in their multi-level structures and hierarchies.
5
Theseworldly functions are vested on the clan elders of the primary social unit(diya-paying unit), who have diverse titles and roles in the different localitiesand sub-cultures, and coordinate the affairs of the clans through theinstitution of the general assembly or ‘Shir’.
6
This assembly is participatoryand includes all male members of the clan, while excluding women fromdiscussion and decision-making. The second are the religious functionsundertaken by the Islamic scholars, such as Islamic education, dispensing
3
Somalis belong to the Sunni Muslim of Shafi’i Jurisprudence.
4
Osseina Alidou and Meredeth Turshen, “Africa: Women in the Aftermath of Civil War”, Race&Class, 2000:41(4): 81-92.
5
In the pastoral areas, the system is based on primordiality while in the agricultural areas, itis founded on territorial attachments; and accordingly, various legal systems havedeveloped to respond to the needs of the communities. Moreover, hierarchies of the clansystem begin from diya paying sub clan.
6
Different clans use different titles for their elders. There are Suldan, Ugas, Islam, Boqor,Wabar, Malaaq, imam and so on. A diya-paying group is a primary unit that has a commonterritory, clan wells, heer and a leader, and recognized as such by other clans. The functionof the elder is the provision of security, conflict resolution; administration of diya system andintra-clan relations. So, it is a sort of mini-state. See Abdurahman Abdullahi, “Tribalism,Nationalism and Islam: Crisis of the Political Loyalties in Somalia”, (MA Thesis, McGillUniversity, 1992), 37-39.
3

Activity (7)

You've already reviewed this. Edit your review.
1 hundred reads
1 thousand reads
Mohamed Al-Hadi liked this
Abdirahmaan Ali liked this
mohalam liked this
mohalam liked this

You're Reading a Free Preview

Download
scribd
/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->