By Sahra Abdi Ahmed NAIROBI, Nov 2 (Reuters) -
Somalia's hardline al Shabaab insurgents closed three grassroots women's organisations in the rebel-held town of Balad Hawa on Monday to stop women from going to work, a rebel leader said.
The group wants to impose its own version of Islamic law on areas it controls, and Washington says it is al Qaeda's proxy in the Horn of African nation.
"We have taken this step after we recognised that women need to stay in their homes and take care of their children ... Islam does not allow women to go to offices," Maalim Daaud Mohmed, the chairman of Balad Hawa, told Reuters by telephone.
Balad Hawa is located on the Somali border with Kenya, near the Kenyan town of Mandera.
The organisations closed by al Shabaab are the Halgan Businesswomen's Organisation, the Sed Huro Human Rights Organisation and Farhan Woman for Peace, he said.
Aayan Hirsi Ali said in one of her books that one of the several reasons Female Genital Mutilation was inflicted on the women of Somalia was that they had to work outside the confines of the home.
They don't just spend time in the kitchen cooking the family meals they are out in the fields and pastures growing and tending the foodstuffs. Herding the goats to pasture and planting the vegetables. So as sealing the women in the kitchen would mean the men having to do some hard and arduous farming work themselves if they wanted to eat, sealing their women's bodily parts before sending them into the fields was an alternative.
This latest direction looks like a double whammy.
Where women are forbidden to leave the house, all the work they could do has to be done by someone else. I can't see the average Somali husband suddenly developing a interest in agriculture and window cleaning. In the rich Arab countries that someone else is a slave or an imported servant but no one is going to go from their own (however poor) country to work in Somalia so that they can earn money to send home.
That leaves the slave trade. It will start as a use for the kidnapped sailors who don't get ransomed and could develop its own purpose and momentum.
This town is by the border with Kenya. Be very careful young boys of Kenya when out walking.
"The Strategic Challenge of Somalia's Al-Shabaab:
Dimensions of Jihad"