Women’s national basketball team captain Suweys Ali Jama readies herself for afternoon training, and says goodbye to her mother, at home in Mogadishu.
Young women risk their lives to play basketball in Somalia. Even though Somalia’s UN-backed government has regained control of the capital Mogadishu, al-Qaeda-linked militants are still active in the city. Al-Shabaab and other radical Islamist groups consider women playing sport to be un-Islamic.
In 2006, the Somali Islamic Courts Union, a group of Sharia courts, issued an order banning women from playing all sport. One of the proposed punishments for women playing basketball is to cut off the right hand or left foot. Members of the Somali national women’s basketball team have received death threats.
Born in Denmark in 1968, Jan Grarup has been reporting for more than two decades on conflict around the world, including the Gulf War, the Rwandan genocide, the siege of Sarajevo, and the Palestinian uprising against Israel in 2000. His coverage of the conflict between Palestine and Israel resulted in two series: The Boys of Ramallah, which earned a POYi World Understanding Award in 2002, followed by The Boys from Hebron.