Islamist Group in Somalia Bans Video Games

Video games are taking it on the chin again as an Islamist group in Somalia has banned them because of the damage it was causing to the "social fabric" of the country, according to an article from the AFP.

Apparently, games are fairly popular around Mogadishu and teens would gather at cybercafes to play PlayStation games for 30 minutes at a time. Villages that had these centers were ordered to close them. The order came in a statement from Hezb al-Islam:

"Starting two days after this statement’s date of issue, all video game playing centres in the areas under Hezb al-Islam control should be closed and playing video games will be prohibited. Video games are designed in such a way that they destroy our social traditions and for that reason, anybody found ignoring this order will be punished and equipment will be confiscated."

The local youth were obviously frustrated:

"We used to watch movies. They were banned. Now the PlayStations we had fun with are also banned. This country is not for young people like me," said Abdirahman Hirsi, a 19-year-old from Lafole town.

"They have basically banned everything that is fun, so we feel increasingly bored," said another boy.

GP: Taking away entertainment from the youth could be a masked attempt by the insurgents to gain more fodder for their war machine. An older resident of the village surmised as such:

"Who knows what else the children are going to do now. It’s not as if there was proper education for them. The more they are prevented from playing, the more likely they are to join the fighting."

So let me get this straight: Video games destroy societies, but it is OK for young kids to fight and die for real? Right …

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on RedditEmail this to someone


  1. sharpshooterbabe says:

    I believe one main reason they are doing this to the young people is b/c if they get bored enough, then they will play fight then grow up to want to go into the Islamic groups in Somalia. It’s like they are also doing this b/c of the same reason in Brazil. Where the president or leader of Brazil wants to keep traditions & not alter them. Too bad they can’t get visa’s (the young people that love to play games) & go to another country to actually start a life doing whatever they want, instead of it being taken away from them. But yes I do agree w/others on here, Video games were NOT at fault. The leaders are. Nice going Hezb, now you can have blood on your hands from killing more terrorists in Somalia!



    "It’s better to be hated for who you are, then be loved for who you are not." – Montgomery Gentry

  2. jedidethfreak says:

    As I said before, not necessarily a teenager.  Those words could have just as easily been said by a 7 year old.


    All these terrorist groups care about is whether or not the person can hold an AK-47.  If so, they’re pressed into service.

    You KILL Vampires. You don’t DATE them.

  3. Magic says:

    "They have basically banned everything that is fun, so we feel increasingly bored," said another boy.
    Welcome to fundamentalism.

    I sometimes suspect fundamentalists are simply jealous that something else is taking the teenager’s attention from what they arrogantly perceive as the most important thing for everyone. "You’re not fighting for your religion like me, so I’ll force you to!"

  4. Longjocks says:

    And the punishment for playing games in Islamic Somalia? Why, that’d probably be a good old-fashioned stoning of course! One of their more wholesome "social traditions".

  5. jedidethfreak says:

    The last time I checked, 6, 7, and 8 year old kids WERE young children.  Regardless of what people may think of parents treating teenagers more like children than adults, we’re not talking about 15, 16, 17 year olds over there, we ARE talking about young children.

    You KILL Vampires. You don’t DATE them.

  6. Bigman-K says:

    I think what he is saying is that in western society we infantilize and baby teenagers and in some cases young adults a.k.a. treat them like YOUNG CHILDREN rather then the adults in training that they actually are and have been throughout mankinds history.

    With the exception of modern western society once a male child reached puberty they were essencially considered an adult  and were placed among the other adult males in the group and given the same freedoms as well as responsibilties that the other adults had. Today’s western society has pretty much extended childhood all the way up to the mid-20s in some cases. There is a reason we see so many 20s and 30s somethings with the mentality of children today. (a.k.a. – man child/adult adolescents/immature mindset)

     "No law means no law" – Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black on the First Amendment

  7. HL_1942 says:

    Yes the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) “controls” a third of the country and about a third of the capital of Mogadishu. But “Xisbul Islam” controls most of the Banaadir district where the capital is located; the group that made this statement is probably associated with them or al-Shabab.


    -It’s all fun and good till the zombies get you.

  8. GoodRobotUs says:

    In fairness, the blame game isn’t purely limited to Theocracies,. though unfortunately Somalia is a prime example of what happens where religious fanaticism takes the place of a legal system, women stoned to death for ‘witchcraft’ and ‘demonic possession’ etc, and blaming everything outside the Religion for all the problems within it.

    I wish this kind of thinking were limited purely to the Religious fanatics, it’s hard to find any pastime out there that some zealot, somewhere, doesn’t think is ‘sinful’, but the problem is that it’s a favourite wagon for any group wanting to deal with a problem by distraction techniques.

    At the end of the day, however, I would say that Somalia has far bigger problems to deal with than Videogames, like what, exactly, they plan to do as military presence slowly reduces in Iraq and Afghanistan and ‘Somalian Pirates’ gets nearer the top of the ‘ToDo’ list…

  9. PumaFau says:

    "social fabric"

    As an african I facepalm’d have they seen their country its anarchy this is why i hate theocracy




    Never underestimate the power of idiots in large amounts.

  10. Neeneko says:

    There is plenty of ‘reason’.  Generally such skrimishes are fights over status.  You get to show off how tough you are an increase your own standing in the group and your group’s standings within the larger community.  This in turn gives one access to better standing and resources within the group.

    It is actually possibly the most ‘natural’ state of warefare.

  11. Austin_Lewis says:

    Somalia hasn’t had a ‘social fabric’ in decades.  Children there fall into 2 groups: Child Soldiers, and Children who can’t get an Ak or G3.  There are DAILY battles on the streets of Somalia for little reason or no reason.  Occasionally, there are gunfights simply because two different and unrelated groups have guns and nothing better to do.  I’d say that they were fighting over resources, but that’s a damn lie.  They’re fighting over khat and ‘land’ (I’m not sure if it’s really fighting over land when you’re basically fighting over buildings that are little more than heaps of rubble).  The people who escape the fighting in cities fare little better.

    There’s no ‘Social Fabric’ in Somalia, and this Islamist group is full of shit.

  12. ryagor says:

     I think we should rejoice. This is the first time that games have been banned because a group feels that they are NOT turning kids into violent murderers.

  13. gellymatos says:

    I might take the whole "destroying traditions" thing seriously if it weren’t for the whole child soldier thing. Somalia is full of problems. Videogames isn’t one of them.

  14. Zerodash says:

    You seem to be implying that the concept of not using male children as war fodder is a bad thing imposed by evil western imperialists. 

    Normally I would expect the "religion of love" card to be played here, but this…this is baffling.

    Please say I’m misinterpreting here.

  15. Neeneko says:

    Video games destroy societies, but it is OK for young kids to fight and die for real? Right …

    Well, if you want to talk traditional values, yes.

    Young males are a disposible resources for conflict between groups.  The whole ‘children are precious snowflakes that must be kept innocent’ is a very western/industrilized/rich concept that comes from drowning in luxury.

    So in this case, games are preventing (or discouraging) young males form filling their traditional roles in an ongoing conflict which weakens the group and (in theory) leaves them more vulnerable to other groups.  While I have distate for it, I can see why the leadership is concerned.

Comments are closed.