Somali Clerics Lead Backlash Against Pirates

Religious sheikhs preach against sea bandits and their un-Islamic ways
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 9, 2009 5:41 AM CDT
Somali women celebrate as they welcome the implementation of Islamic Sharia law at Konis stadium, in Mogadishu, Somalia.   (AP Photo/Daadir Mahmoud)
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(Newser) – Somalia's pirates are facing an enemy on land many of them fear more than foreign warships, the New York Times reports. Sheikhs and Islamic clerics are preaching against the "burcad badeed"—Somali for sea bandits—accusing them of introducing evils like drugs and alcohol to Somali society and urging citizens to form anti-pirate militias.

“Man, these Islamic guys want to cut my hands off,” complained one notorious pirate boss. “Maybe it’s time for a change.” The pirate leader said he and his buccaneers are ready to give up piracy, if the sheikhs can find new jobs for their crews and help them form a coast guard to protect Somalia's shores from illegal fishing and dumping.