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Last Updated: Monday, 22 December, 2003, 13:45 GMT
Somali Muslim group bans condoms
Durex Condoms
Condoms are freely available in medical institutions
Islamic leaders say they have outlawed condoms in Somalia, where the vast majority of the population is Muslim.

The umbrella Somali Ulema Council has said it will use Sharia (Islamic) Law, including flogging, to punish those selling or using condoms.

The council is responding to a United Nations-funded campaign to raise awareness about Aids being aired by a local radio station.

Somalia has been torn apart by fighting between rival militias since 1991.


Sheikh Nur Barud, the chairman of the Ulema Council, told a public meeting that the use of condoms will increase adultery and those promoting its use deserve punishment.

The BBC's Mohammed Olad Hassan in Mogadishu says residents are divided over the declaration by the religious leaders.

Some are in favour of the use of condoms as a protective measure against HIV/Aids while others are not.

Condoms are freely available in medical institutions in Mogadishu.

Due to the fighting, there has been little research into the prevalence of Aids in Somalia but the UN Aids agency says some 70% of young Somali girls have not heard about the disease.

Aid agencies working in Somalia fear that Aids is on the increase as a result of cross-border movements between Kenya, Djibouti and Ethiopia.

Report warns of HIV catastrophe
08 Oct 03  |  Health
Africans resist condom message
17 Nov 03  |  Africa
Quiz: Do you know your condoms?
07 Nov 03  |  In Depth
Country profile: Somalia
13 Aug 03  |  Country profiles
Timeline: Somalia
19 Apr 03  |  Country profiles

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