To describe Somalia as the rectum of nations is to grossly slur the rectum.
At least the humble rectum serves a purpose; performs a function; has a point.
The same cannot be said of Somalia.
It should be right up there with Mexico and Romania on any sane person's list of places they really don't want carry cash.
It combines the worst elements of African culture - tribalism and violence - with the worst elements of Islam; violence and tribalism. It produces nothing but bloodshed and pain. To all intents and purposes it is a hole in the map, the very word 'Somalia' nothing but a legal fiction.
Some of us might notice if it no longer existed - but it's doubtful if few would care.
In the early 1990's, Somalia developed a reputation for fierce lawlessness. This was partly on account of the events of October 3-4 1993, when 18 US Rangers were killed during the Battle of Mogadishu
- the so-called 'Black Hawk Down'
incident. For some reason, this has always been painted as an American defeat - but the numbers tell a different story.
The Americans killed between 750 and 1,500 Somalis, a truly phenomenal kill ratio of anywhere between 41 to 83 dead Somalis for every 1 dead American; proof that the world's most successful nation is not only very good at peace, justice, the rule of law and all that sort of stuff but also very, very good at making very sharp objects that move very fast and really, really hurt when they hit you.
One is quite sure that there are Somalis who deplore the mess their countrymen have made of their homeland, so it's inappropriate to suggest that being Somali is something to be embarrassed about - however, by the same token it might be thought that those Somalis who have been granted the privilege of living outside Somalia would appreciate the benefits that living in somebody else's culture, one built on peace and civic brotherhood, can bring.
And perhaps even be grateful.
But as far as some Somalis are concerned, that doesn't seem to be the case.
"Aydarus Yusuf has lived in the UK for the past 15 years, but he feels more bound by the traditional law of his country of birth - Somalia - than he does by the law of England and Wales.
"Us Somalis, wherever we are in the world, we have our own law. It's not Islamic, it's not religious - it's just a cultural thing."
The answer to Yusuf's problem is straightforward. He doesn't feel at home - so he should go where he would feel more at home; Somalia.
However, Yusuf isn't content just to talk nonsense; he play acts it was well -
"The 29-year-old youth worker wants to ensure that other members of his community remain subject to the law of their ancestors too - he helps convene an unofficial Somali court, or "gar", in south-east London. "
It is hard to believe that this behaviour is not in some way criminal. There must be some old 14th Century statute still floating about which outlaws the convention of private courts.
If Yusuf wants to sit around chewing the khat
with his homeboys and bitch about the foul and racist British oppressor's unfair refusal to allow them to tool round Peckham in open jeeps while toting rocket-propelled grenades, an activity which has played a very prominent and important role in recent Somali history, then fine - it's a free country.
What has helped both make and keep it free has been its citizens' recognition that they live under one law. Saying you run a Somali tribal 'gar' is the sort of thing you tell the council when you're pumping them for a cultural activities grant - but not the sort of admission that will endear you to any citizen, regardless of creed or colour, who values the rule of law.
But Aydarus is not alone in his use of parallel legal systems; it's just that his has gone gar-gar and started handing out criminal penalties -
"As well as Somali customary law, Islamic and Jewish laws are being applied and enforced in parts of the UK.
Islamic and Jewish law remains confined to civil matters. But the BBC's Law in Action programme has learned that the Somali court hears criminal cases too.
One of the most serious cases it has dealt with was the "trial" of a group of young men accused of stabbing a fellow Somali.
"When the suspects were released on bail by the police, we got the witnesses and families together for a hearing," says Aydarus. "The accused men admitted their guilt and apologised. Their fathers and uncles agreed compensation."
Although this all sounds hunky-dory, there's one slight problem with it; certainly as far as the law of Scotland is concerned.
If any accused person receives bail, it is a breach of that bail for them to have any contact with witnesses!
I don't know the English position - perhaps a commentor might confirm whether the same rule applies on the wro-other side of Hadrian's Wall.
Forget the fathers and uncles - where were the police?
But it gets worse -
"Dr Prakash Shah, of London's Queen Mary University, advocates this "legal pluralism".
"Tribunals like the Somali court could be more effective than the formal legal system in maintaining social harmony."
Dr. Shah doesn't seem to understand that social harmony flows from the rule of law, the one law - not the other way round.
If Somalis want to live harmoniously with Brits inside Britain, observing British laws and dumping the old country's absurd ways might be a good place to start.
The report continues,
"Former judge Gerald Butler QC says that while courts such as the Jewish Beth Din can work properly, it's essential that all of the involved parties "freely and voluntarily agree to the jurisdiction... and that they conduct their proceedings fairly and properly". He adds: "What they mustn't do - and this must never happen - is to stray into the field of criminal matters. That simply would never be acceptable."
While religious leaders in the UK's Jewish and Muslim communities have not sought to enforce their own versions of criminal law, they have steadily built up their capacity to deal with civil matters within their own religious codes. What's more, they are doing it with the help of English law.
The Beth Din is the most formally entrenched of these minority courts. The UK's main Beth Din is based in Finchley, north London.
It oversees a wide range of cases including divorce settlements, contractual rows between traders and tenancy disputes.
The court cannot force anyone to come within its jurisdiction. But once someone agrees to settle a dispute in the Beth Din, he or she is bound in English law to abide by the court's decision.
This is because under English law people may devise their own way to settle a dispute before an agreed third party. "
Talmudic law as a form of arbitration?
Unacceptable. Whilst having no background in Talmudic law, a situation might arise where a just settlement under that law might compromise a litigant's rights and remedies under English law.
Although the Beth Din might work for those Jews prepared to be bound by its strictures, to all intents and purposes it is not an arbitration. An arbitration is just what its name suggests - arbitrary. However the Beth Din's settlements are founded on a series of principles which are not founded in English law, but in another legal code - and in a civil society, all disputes must be settled according to the same code, with all litigants having recourse to the same rights and remedies.
Otherwise, we cease to be a nation of citizens. Everyone's just doing their own thing instead.
It's all down to a flaw in English law -
"Crucially, the legislation does not insist that settlements must be based on English law; all that matters is the outcome is reasonable and both parties agree to the process. And it's in this space that religious courts, applying the laws of another culture, are growing in the UK.
"Orthodox Jews go to the Beth Din to settle their disputes," says Jonathan Greenwood, a solicitor who represents many Jewish businessmen at the court.
"They believe it is a religious obligation to go there [and seek redress under Jewish law] rather than the secular courts. But it is also usually quicker and cheaper."
If a civil court makes an unreasonale decision, there exists a right of appeal. To whom does one appeal an unreasonable decision of the Beth Din?
To the courts? Without breaching the terms on which the Beth Din was approached and without a crisis of conscience?
But now it gets much worse -
"Amongst the UK's Muslims there are sharply contrasting views about Sharia or Islamic law in the UK. Sharia is the historic legal foundations of the Islamic world - like English law, it has developed over centuries but is based on simple principles. "
Jihad. Beheading. All very simple stuff.
"In an ICM survey of 500 British Muslims carried out in February 2006, 40% of respondents said they would support the introduction of Sharia in predominantly Muslim areas of Britain.
The UK's most prominent Muslim organisation, the Muslim Council of Britain, opposes the idea, saying it will not support a dual legal system.
But some of Britain's Islamic scholars have called for a different approach - Sharia legal code in areas such as family and inheritance, applied through the secular courts.
Mohammed Shahid Raza, a leading Islamic scholar, claims this is a workable model with a British precedent: "When Britain was ruling India, there was a separate legal code for Muslims, organised and regulated by British experts of law."
There is already a network of Sharia councils in the UK. They are not recognised as courts but are seen as essential by those Muslims seeking advice and religious sanction in matters such as divorce. "
"...Cassandra Balchin, a convert to Islam and spokeswoman for the group Women Living Under Muslim Laws, is concerned about the growth of these minority legal systems.
"Very often traditional forms of mediation can disadvantage vulnerable groups, such as women, within a community.
"I'm concerned about how much choice the weaker party would have in submitting to the governance of these alternative forums."
Despite Ms Balchin's fears, Sharia councils have already begun to follow the Jewish model of turning themselves into recognised courts of arbitration.
Faisal Aqtab Siddiqi, a commercial law barrister and head of the Hijaz College Islamic University in Warwickshire, says he has already adjudicated in a number of contractual disputes.
"Because we follow the same process as any case of arbitration, our decisions are binding in English law. Unless our decisions are unreasonable, they are recognised by the High Court."
But again, what might be determined reasonable by a Sharia court might be wholly unreasonable under Her Majesty's law; and one of the icky, nasty, piece-of-chewing-gum-on-the-sole-of-the-shoes things about being a British citizen is that the status of 'British citizen' didn't appear overnight.
It didn't come into being as the third wish from the Genie of the Lamp.
It was a thing that evolved from a sense of nationhood - with one of that nationhood's pillars being the recognition that we all adhere to the same law.
It's a platitude to say that it's better for 100 guilty men to go free than for one innocent man to be jailed.
By the same token, it would better for us all for all religious and alternative courts to be closed rather than have one British citizen suffer an injustice at their hands.