I say “reportedly,” because although the BBC reports it as news, it is based on hearsay from relatives and so must be hedged. But if it’s true, what can you say about groups that will kill women based on their failure to cover their faces. The same thing, I suppose, you’d say about those who mutilate schoolgirls for the crime of wanting to study. From the BBC report:
Militant Islamists in Somalia have shot dead a Muslim woman for refusing to wear a veil, her relatives say.
Ruqiya Farah Yarow was killed outside her hut near the southern Somali town of Hosingow by gunmen belonging to the al-Shabab group, they say.
The militants had ordered her to put on a veil, and then killed her after returning and finding she was still not wearing one, the relatives said.
An al-Shabab spokesman denied the group had killed the woman.
The hedges are the denial (itself dubious), the hearsay, “her relatives say,” as well as this (my emphasis):
Relatives, who asked not to be identified for fear of reprisals, told the BBC that Mrs Yarow was killed at about 07:30 (04:30 GMT).
She was shot twice and died instantly, they added.
She is survived by her husband and children, the relatives said.
Al-Shabab, which controls much of southern and central Somalia, imposes strict rules of behaviour, including dress codes for men and women.
BBC Somalia analyst Mary Harper says the fact that al-Shabab has denied killing Mrs Yarow suggests that rogue elements within the group may have been responsible for her death.
It is also possible that al-Shabab wants to distance itself from the shooting because it is likely to provoke a strong public reaction, she says.
Had I been the BBC, I’m not sure I would have run this story without confirmation, as it’s based on hearsay. I report it here because it may be credible, especially because what they say about al-Shabab’s dress codes appears to be true. If the story is true, and even if the killers were merely “rogue elements” of Al-Shabab, it shows something that at least a few commenters have denied. Maybe the U.S. is not at war with Islam, but the civilized world is at war with many, many adherents to Islam.
A paragraph from Wikipedia about the organization, which also checks out, at least according to the references, notes this:
Through their religious rhetoric Al Shabaab attempts to recruit and radicalize potential candidates, demoralize their enemies, and dominate dialogue in both national and international media. According to reports Al Shabaab is trying to intensify the conflict: “It would appear from the alleged AMISOM killings that it is determined to portray the war as an affair between Christians and Muslims to shore up support for its fledgling cause… The bodies, some beheaded, were displayed alongside Bibles and crucifixes. The group usually beheads those who have embraced Christianity or Western ideals. Militants have begun placing beheaded corpses next to bibles and crucifixes in order to intimidate local populations.” In April 2010 Al Shabaab announced that it would begin banning radio stations from broadcasting BBC and Voice of America, claiming that they were spreading Christian propaganda. By effectively shutting down the Somali media they gain greater control of the dialog surrounding their activities.
Of course, this has nothing to do with religion—it’s all culture, and all the result of Western oppression! For those who maintain these misguided attitudes, I highly recommend (as I have repeatedly) Lawrence Wright’s Pulitzer-Prize-winning book, The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11. I hate to sound like a theologian, but your credibility on the origins of Islamic violence will be considerably raised if you’ve read it.