[JURIST] The Somali parliament voted Saturday to adopt Islamic Sharia law [CFR backgrounder; JURIST news archive]. A parliamentary spokesperson said that more than 300 Somali MPs voted [AFP report] for the implementation of Sharia law as part of an attempt by Somali President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed [BBC profile] to bring stability to the failed state. Last month, Ahmed announced [JURIST report] that he would support the imposition of a moderate form of Sharia Islamic religious law, as part of a cease-fire agreement with the country's Hizb al-Islamiya and Al-Shabaab rebels. Ahmed said, however, that he would not agree [CNN report] to provisions that would prohibit girls from attending school, require women to wear headscarves, or ban music and television. According to Minister of Information Farhan Ali Mohamed, Islamic scholars and imams will be invited [AP report] to review the country's constitution to make changes to portions of the document they find to be un-Islamic.
Somalia has endured a lengthy civil war and several rounds of failed peace talks [BBC timeline] since the collapse of its last civil government in 1991. The country's transitional government is just now shifting its base [VOA report] from Djibouti to the Somali capital of Mogadishu. In December, Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] released a report [text, PDF; JURIST report] accusing both rebels and the government of having committed war crimes in the conflict. In January 2007, the transitional government began imposing martial law [JURIST report] over areas under the government's control.