Wednesday, October 02, 2013
Thursday, August 22, 2013
Monday, August 05, 2013
Because persecution in Somalia is so severe, it is estimated that as little as 550 Christians are currently part of the underground Church in Somalia.
The Christian community of Somalia is one of the most persecuted and secretive populations in the world. Because of intense levels of persecution, it is estimated that the numbers of Christians in Somalia may be as little as 550 individuals. Most are forced to worship at clandestine Bible studies conducted at the homes of other believers. Living in a failed state and in a society that is openly hostile towards Christians, underground churches are in desperate need of educated leaders, Bibles in the Somali language and other basic Christian resources.
Christian Persecution in Somalia
In 1991, Somalia’s government collapsed. The power vacuum that followed created the failed state that exists today. This vacuum was especially troublesome for Christians because it allowed Islamic extremist groups to gain control over much of Somalia. In 2006, al-Shabaab, the Islamic terrorist group, took control of most of Southern Somalia, including the capital of Mogadishu. Al-Shabaab imposes a strict version of Islamic law (Sharia) over the people it rules, including Christians.
According to al-Shabaab, all people who are ethnically Somali are by default Muslim. Anyone who is not Muslim is therefore persecuted and punished. Because of this persecution, underground churches in Somalia had to retreat even further underground or flee Somalia altogether. “Being Muslim is part of the Somali culture,” an ICC contact said. “When you are no longer Muslim, you become an infidel and, according to [al-Shabaab’s] teachings, you are to be killed. To become Christian is very difficult because you have to separate yourself from everything—your family, your friends and your culture—or risk being killed.”
Need for Trained Leadership
This intense persecution has left the Somali underground church needy. Among the most important needs of the underground church is that of trained leadership. Many fellowships are led only by lay pastors. This lack of trained leadership is a legacy of al-Shabaab’s campaign to wipe out everything it considers “un-Islamic.” Scores of leaders have been killed in the last decade.
Missionary work within Somalia is also very difficult. Not only does al-Shabaab oppose any sort of Christian evangelism, the Transitional National Government (TNG), backed by the United Nations, is opposed to Christian evangelism as well. This is evidenced by Article 29 of the proposed constitution. It reads:
“Every person shall have the right to freedom of conscience and freely to profess his own religion and to worship it subject to any limitations which may be prescribed by law for the purpose of safeguarding morals, public health or order. However, it shall not be permissible to spread or propagandize any religion other than the religion of Islam.”
With Christian evangelism illegal both formally (by the TNG) and informally (by al-Shabaab), Christian leaders in Somalia have very little resources for training.
Missions to Somali Christians
There is something being done to assist to growth of the underground Church in Somalia. ICC supports two ministries that are focused on bringing the Gospel to Christians in Somalia and on training Christian leaders.
ICC is working within Somalia itself. However, since this is a public newsletter, it is too risky to share what we do.
ICC also supports Christian radio/internet broadcasts in the Somali language. These broadcasts not only reach Christians living in Somalia, but also the millions of Somalis that have fled the country due to civil war and famine. A recent convert from Mogadishu said, “[Through this ministry] I am able to read the Bible. Someday I would like to be well-known for spreading Christianity [in Somalia].”
Although small and secretive, the underground Church in Somalia should be counted among the most resilient Christian populations. Praying for Somali Christians is a good place to start helping for anyone looking to get involved. The next step is supporting ministries that reach out to this highly persecuted group willing to risk their lives to follow Jesus Christ.
Posted by Somalis For Jesus at 21:53
Monday, July 29, 2013
Sunday, July 14, 2013
Al Shabaab rebels publicly shoot young man for his faith.
June 20, 2013 By Our East Africa Correspondent - Leave a Comment
NAIROBI, Kenya (Morning Star News) – Islamic extremists from the rebel Al Shabaab in Somalia earlier this month publicly shot a young man to death after identifying him as a Christian, sources said.
The insurgents in Jamaame district in southern Somalia had been monitoring 28-year-old Hassan Hurshe since his arrival from a Kenya in 2010 and determined that he had become a Christian while in Kenya, said area Muslim sources whose names are withheld for security reasons.
Al Shabaab members on June 7 brought Hurshe to a public place in the town of Jilib and shot him in the head, they said.
“Many people watched this horrible action, including women and children,” said a witness.
Another area resident independently confirmed this account of the execution. A leader of the Somali underground church in Kenya who had also heard of the murder said Hurshe converted to Christianity in 2006, married in 2008 and fathered a baby boy in 2009.
The family left for Jilib, a town of about 45,000 in the Middle Juba Region, in the latter part of 2010 to visit family and start a small food shop, the source said.
Somalis are considered Muslim by birth, and apostasy, or leaving Islam, is punishable by death. After the execution, Hurshe’s parents, widow and son fled the area, a local resident said.
Many Somali members of Christian fellowships in Kenya have returned to Somalia after formation of a Somali government on Aug. 20, 2012, which replaced the Transitional Federal Government. Somali government troops backed by African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces have retaken large swathes of territory from the rebels.
Al Shabaab, said to have ties with Al Qaeda terrorists, has vowed to rid Somalia of Christians, who meet secretly due to persecution.
The insurgents have lost control of several areas of Somalia since Kenyan military forces helped to dislodge them in the past year, but they are suspected in the shooting death of a Christian pharmacist on the outskirts of Kismayo in February. Two masked men killed Ahmed Ali Jimale, a 42-year-old father of four, on Feb. 18 as he stood outside his house in Alanley village (see Morning Star News, Feb. 28).
On Dec. 8, 2012 in Beledweyne, 206 miles (332 kilometers) north of Mogadishu, gunmen killed a Christian who had been receiving death threats for leaving Islam. Two unidentified, masked men shot Mursal Isse Siad, 55, outside his home, Muslim and Christian sources said (see Morning Star News. Dec. 14, 2012).
Siad and his wife, who converted to Christianity in 2000, had moved to Beledweyne from Doolow eight months before. The area was under government control and there was no indication that the killers belonged to the Al Shabaab rebels, but the Islamic extremist insurgents were present in Buulodbarde, 20 kilometers (12 miles) away, and Christians believed a few Al Shabaab rebels could have been hiding in Beledweyne.
In the coastal city of Barawa on Nov. 16, 2012, Al Shabaab militants killed a Christian after accusing him of being a spy and leaving Islam, Christian and Muslim witnesses said. The extremists beheaded 25-year-old Farhan Haji Mose after monitoring his movements for six months, sources said (see “Morning Star News, Nov. 17, 2012).
Mose drew suspicion when he returned to Barawa, in the Lower Shebelle Region, in December 2011 after spending time in Kenya, according to underground Christians in Somalia. Kenya’s population is nearly 83 percent Christian, according to Operation World, while Somalia’s is close to 100 percent Muslim.
Posted by Somalis For Jesus at 19:20