This is Islam. A mans hand is cut off for stealing $90 of merchandise.
Somali justice - Islamist-style
By Mohamed Mohamed
BBC Somali Service
The dusty streets of Kismayo in Somalia echoed to the sound of a vehicle with loudspeakers summoning residents to a new form of public "entertainment" earlier this month.
People were being invited to see a man have his hand chopped off in a public park in the city.
The young man, Mohamed Omar Ismail, had been found guilty of stealing goods from another man's house.
That afternoon, hundreds of local people flocked to Freedom Park in order to see the amputation.
After a long wait, Mr Ismail was brought out in front of the people and an official started to read out the court decision from a piece of paper.
"The Islamic Sharia court of Kismayo district confirms that Mohamed Omar Ismail has been found guilty of stealing," the official announced.
"Mr Ismail stole 10 pairs of trousers, 10 shirts, eight other items and a bag. The value of all the items is estimated to be $90."
The official quoted a chapter from the Koran known as Surah Maida, verse 38, which is about stealing and relevant punishment.
He said that the verse decreed that punishment for stealing was that the right hand of the thief should be cut off.
A local journalist who witnessed the events unfold saw a shocked-looking Mr Ismail brought into the park.
His right hand was held up to the crowds.
It was then laid on a table and severed immediately and without ceremony at the wrist.
Bloody hand dangled
The eyewitness told of his horror as the bloody body part was dangled by its index finger in front of the crowd to prove that punishment had been meted out.
Mr Ismail is now recovering from his injury in Kismayo General Hospital, where he is being guarded by the Islamist militia who punished him.
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