Somalia’s break-away region of Somaliland has cancelled its first women’s tournament claiming it was un -Islamic and was violated the ethical aspects of the religion.
The region’s director of sports at the ministry of youths and sports Abdirashid Aidid told Reuters that the move was arrived at following public outcry that the tournament fell out of the Islamic values.
“We cancelled it because it is not in line with Islamic values and norms,” Aidid told a news conference.
“After public anger, including from the sheikhs, we agreed to suspend it. Everyone saw our women playing during the training sessions on TV and social media platforms. We don’t want that at all.”
The nullification has sparked outrage among women’s rights groups.
The training sessions were initially broadcasted and upon viewing by the public, some religious leaders came out to condemn the federation.
This later lead to the cancelation of the seven-day tournament that was to feature six teams representing six regions in the entire Somaliland.
This is not the first time women’s sports have faced a backlash in Somalia.
The first Somalia inter-regional all-girls basketball tournament was held in December 2016 despite numerous warnings from religious leaders.
The country is also facing a backlsh from the Islamist extremist group Al-Shabaab.
Al Shabaab is fighting to impose its own harsh interpretation of Islamic law in Somalia. Courts set up by the militants do not allow legal representation or appeals.
Its members have handed out brutal punishments for religious infractions, including hacking limbs for alleged thieves.
Stoning suspected adulterers in one such punishment; the accused is buried neck-deep and then killed by rocks thrown by a crowd. Both men and women have been stoned.