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Somalia speaker to reject ‘anti-Islam’ bills on sex abuse

Monday December 5, 2022



The speaker of Somalia’s lower house has vowed to “cancel any bill that violates Islamic values” ahead of the tabling of a controversial bill on sexual offences.

The bill is sponsored by Deputy Speaker Sadiya Yasin Haji Samatar, who has been campaigning against gender-based violence.

She claimed there had been threats against her over the bill and said she would leave the country if it was not passed.

It's still unclear if she plans to introduce a new bill or re-table one rejected by the previous parliament in 2020 over clauses that were allegedly opposed to Islam.

The previous bill created controversy over sections dealing with sexual offences between married couples, and the minimum age of marriage - which is 15 years in Islam but 18 years in the country’s draft constitution.

"Article 2 of the constitution, as you know, states that no religion other than Islam shall be propagated in Somalia. It also states that all laws in Somalia must be based on the Quran,” said Speaker Sheikh Aden Mohamed Nur, also known as Aden Madobe.

"[Parliamentary] bylaw 75 states that no bill can be tabled at parliament if it violates the Islamic Sharia, the constitution, parliamentary bylaws and other laws of the country. The Speaker will therefore cancel debate on any such a bill,” he added.

His comments are believed to foreshadow a likely rejection of the bill.


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