A hardline Islamist group in Somalia has begun publicly whipping women for wearing bras that they claim violate Islam as they are ‘deceptive’.
The insurgent group Al Shabaab has sent gunmen into the streets of Mogadishu to round up any women who appear to have a firm bust, residents claimed yesterday.
The women are then inspected to see if the firmness is natural, or if it is the result of wearing a bra.
If they are found wearing a bra, they are ordered to remove it and shake their breasts, residents said.
Al Shabaab, which seeks to impose a strict interpretation of Sharia law over all Somalia, also amputated a foot and a hand each from two young men accused of robbery earlier this month.
They have also banned movies, musical ringtones, dancing at wedding ceremonies and playing or watching soccer.
‘Al Shabaab forced us to wear their type of full veil and now they order us to shake our breasts,’ a resident, Halima, told Reuters, adding that her daughters had been whipped on Thursday.
‘They are now saying that breasts should be firm naturally, or just flat.’
Officials of Al Shabaab, which Washington says is Al Qaeda’s proxy in the failed Horn of Africa state, declined to comment.
The group’s hardline interpretation of Islamic law has shocked many Somalis, who are traditionally moderate Muslims. Some residents, however, give the insurgents credit for restoring order to the regions under their control.
Al Shabaab, which means ‘youth’ in Arabic, control large swathes of south and central Somalia.
Abdullahi Hussein, a student in north Mogadishu, said his elder brother was thrown behind bars when he fought back a man who humiliated their sister by asking her to remove her bra.
‘My brother was jailed after he wrestled with a man that had beaten my sister and forced her to remove her bra. He could not stand it,’ Hussein said.
Men were not spared the ‘moral cleansing’. Any man caught without a beard was been publicly whipped.
‘I was beaten and my hair was cut off with a pair of scissors in the street,’ Hussein said.
‘My trouser was also cut up to the knee. They accused me of shaving my beard but I am only 18.
‘They have arrested dozens of men and women. You just find yourself being whipped by a masked man as soon as leave your house.’