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New Somalia leader vows to introduce Islamic law

[JURIST] Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys [Reuters profile], the new supreme leader of Somalia's Islamic Courts Party whose militia took control of the capital of Mogadishu [JURIST report] from US-backed warlords earlier this month, vowed Monday to impose Islamic law - Sharia [Wikipedia backgrounder] - on the country and denied US allegations that he is a terrorist as a former leader of the al-Itihaad al-Islamiya militant group [Wikipedia backgrounder]. Aweys was elected [IRIN report] as head of the parliamentary Council of Islamic Courts (CIC) last weekend, and said the Council would work with other countries that respect it. Interim Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed [BBC profile] strongly opposes the imposition of Islamic law. The weak interim government [JURIST report] and the CIC agreed last weekend to stop fighting.

Somalia has suffered through an internal civil war and several failed peace talks [timeline] since the collapse of civilian government in 1991. The Islamic Courts [BBC profile], reportedly the most popular political party in the country, are seeking to promote Islamic law rather than clan allegiance, even though all but one of the 11 courts come from the same clan. AFP has more. BBC News has additional coverage.

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