Al Qaeda-linked group bans English in Somali schools

September 10th, 2011 - 2:40 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Sep 10 (IANS/AKI) Al Qaeda-linked militant outfit Al Shabab has banned the teaching of English in schools in Somalia, and has ordered teachers to replace it with Arabic, a London-based Arabic daily has reported.

The Al-Quds Al-Arabi daily said the militants banned the language in the southern Somali city of Chisimaio.

“We were following a programme used in Kenya, Sudan and Malaysia that uses only English in the classroom to prepare students to study in a foreign university. Now we can’t even teach and will have to replace our teachers that come from Kenya who can’t speak Arabic,” said a teacher.

Currently, Chisimaio has six middle and high schools that teach classes in English, while elementary schools use Arabic, the report said.

Islamist groups in control of areas outside the capital Mogadishu have also ordered shopkeepers to substitute English signs with those in Arabic.

Al Shabab has an alliance with Al Qaeda and has not shied away from using terror tactics in its fight to control Somalia. In 2010, the group claimed responsibility for a suicide attack in Ugandan capital Kampala that killed around 75 people who had gathered to watch a TV broadcast of the World Cup soccer finals.

Somalia has been without an effective government for about 20 years. Uganda leads a military coalition of African countries deployed in Somalia to keep the troubled country out of the hands of radical Islamist militants.

The Al-Quds Al-Arabi is an independent Arabic daily published in London since 1989. The paper is owned by Palestinian expatriates.


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