Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Somali Church Facing Genocide

Brother Warsameh

“Martyrdom of the individual—yes, but genocide of the whole community—no." The former was something which a Christian must be prepared to accept if necessary, but the latter was entirely unacceptable.” -A Christian leader in the Middle East.1

PrologueThe Legal Encyclopedia defines genocide as “the crime of destroying or conspiring to destroy a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group.”2 The Encyclopedia continues to say “Genocide can be committed in a number of ways, including killing members of a group or causing them serious mental or bodily harm, deliberately inflicting conditions that will bring about a group's physical destruction.”

Powerful Muslim leaders in Somalia have repeatedly called their supporters to eradicate, to kill, to slaughter and to dispossess the Somali Christian community. These Muslims were able to kill many Christians and harass others but they failed to eliminate the Christian community. This community of faith is the Lord’s and He is their protector.

Today there are numerous house churches in Somalia, Somaliland, Djibouti, and in the Somali enclave of Eastern Ethiopia. The genocide has only driven the church underground, deeper than ever before and we shall overcome this ugly genocide.

The Somali church embraces all indispensable persecutions and martyrdoms. It is written that "A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master.” (Matthew 10:24-25a). If the head of the house has been unjustly crucified, how much more the members of his household!

The Somali church refuses to be overcome by the gates of hell. We reject genocide which is the elimination of the community of faith.

The current genocide against the Somali church has been in the making since 1991 when Somalia’s military regime was overthrown by armed rebels. The vacuum left by the government was quickly filled in by shadowy Taliban style Islamists who have recently captured the Capital Mogadishu and most of Central and Southern Somalia.

A Synopsis of the Genocide

Islamic hit men loyal to Sheik Hassan Dahir Aweys3, then the military commander of Al Itihad in Somalia, shot and killed Pastor Liibaan Ibraahim Hassan (Saint Liibaan of Somalia) in 1994.4

Only two members of the slain pastor’s house-church in Mogadishu escaped the massacre that claimed the lives of prominent Somali Christians including the Canadian educated professor Haji Mohammed Hussein5 who taught at Somali National University, Dr. Ahmed Ayntow Gobe, Saleban Mohammed Saleban and Mohammed Sheikdon Jama and his eight-month pregnant wife. Al Itihad in Somalia claimed responsibly for the killings in 1996. The Muslim group said in a press release published in Mogadishu that they eliminated all Somali Christians in Somalia and that “they would now turn their attention to Somali Christians in Nairobi, Kenya.”6

Fourteen influential Muslim religious leaders held a press conference in Mogadishu in 2003 and read a fatwa (Islamic verdict) against Somali Christians:

Somali Christians are apostates from Islam and they must be put to death
Somali Christians can neither inherit nor be inherited
Married Somali Christians are divorced from their spouses
Somali Christians have no rights in Islamic Somalia
Somali Christians will not be buried in Somalia upon their death

This fatwa also warned that Somali Christians outside the country will be executed if they returned to Somalia.7

One of the fourteen signatories of this fatwa is Sheik Nur Barud, the vice chairman of the fiery Kulanka Culimada which is an umbrella organization for Somali Islamist groups. Senior leaders from this group are graduates from Islamic seminaries in Saudi Arabia.

The Kulanka Culimada said in 2003 “all Somali Christians must be killed according to Islamic law. A Muslim can never become a Christian but he can become an apostate…and we will slaughter them.”8

Somali newspaper published in Eldoret, Kenya, instructed “Somali Christians to leave Somalia and move to the Vatican.” Assiyaasa (Politics) published this editorial in February 2, 2003.9

Pastor Shueb Maalim Madkheyr was shot by angry Muslims in Dinsor, Southern Somalia, in 2004. The pastor was on a church planting trip in the area.10

Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed, the chairman of the Mogadishu Islamic Courts Union, spoke to the press in November 2005 and said “shutting down a cinema is as legitimate as shutting down a house-church.”11 The Islamic courts were at the time closing down cinemas showing Western and Indian movies.

Islamic hit men loyal to Kulanka Culimada shot and killed Dr. Osman Sheik Ahmed in 2005. The house-church pastor was assassinated in Mogadishu.12

Evangelist Ayaan Abdulqadir was arrested in Hargeisa, Somaliland, in 2005, she is accused of converting Muslim women and children to the Christian Faith. She still remains in prison.13

Somaliland’s Ministry of Religious Affairs instructed Hargeisa District Court to send an arrest warrant for a Somali pastor in the capital. This official letter was dated October 28, 2005 and its reference is D/A-107. This letter was signed by Sheik Mohamud Sheik Mohammed Sufi, the Minister of Religious Affairs.

The Hargeisa District Court issued the arrest warrant dated October 30, 2005 and its reference is MDH/09/2005. This arrest warrant was signed by Sheik Abdilahi Mohammed Hassan, the top judge of Hargeisa District Court.

The indicted pastor was accused of “propagating Christianity in the Republic of Somaliland.”14 The pastor fled Hargeisa and he is still in hiding.

Pastor Hussein Adan Ahmed died in March 2006 because of severe head trauma inflicted on him by Somalia’s KGB style National Security Service. The pastor, a teacher by training, was accused of spreading Christianity among his Muslim students.15

Evangelist Geeddi Galbe was attacked by an organized Muslim group in Mogadishu in April 2006 in an attempt to behead him. The attackers inflicted injuries to his body and head, including fracturing his skull.16 The Muslim group was armed with knives and machetes.

A Somali Christian was recently killed in Nairobi, Kenya, (2006)17 and another one in Kismayo, Southern Somalia, (2005)18.

Three Somali Christians were attacked on Monday, October 31, 2005. A pastor was hit in the stomach and hospitalized in a coma. The second Christian suffered an arm injury and the third was spared of physical harm.19

Ali Mustaf Maka’il was shot and killed in Mogadishu in September, 7, 2006. Ali was shot in the back by a gunman loyal to the Islamic Courts Union. Ali was martyred when he refused to join a Qur’an chanting crowd in the Somali capital.

Militias loyal to the Islamic Courts confiscated Ali’s body and kept it for 24 hours. The body was later returned in a military truck to Ali’s family.

A Somali Christian in Djibouti who was shot in the forehead by a uniformed policeman survived the ordeal. There are other Christians whose bodies are scarred but their souls are untouched.

The above mentioned martyrs are only a tiny fraction of the total believers the Somali church has lost to genocide in the hands of Somali Muslims and their Arab backers.

The Somali church appeals to the worldwide community of faith to pray for the tormented Somali church. With your support, the Somali church can emerge victorious to be a witness of the Second Coming of our Lord and Savior, Jesus of Nazareth.

The recent takeover of Southern and Central Somalia, including the Capital, by Islamists has created fear and anxiety in the Somali church.

Sooner or later, it seems certain, that Jihadists will lash out at the Somali church.

Your prayers can make a difference.

3. Sheik Hassan Dahir Aweys is internationally known Islamic extremist dubbed “The Osama bin Laden of Somalia”. The United States linked Sheik Hassan Dahir Aweys to al-Qaida shortly after the September 11 terror attacks. The United States and the United Nations have both designated Aweys as a Specially Designated National and Blocked Person. The Sheik was recently elected as the head of ICU Shura (parliament).
5. Ibid.
6. Ibid.
14. Send an e-mail to to receive copies of the two arrest warrants. The warrants are in Somali.

Background Info
1. Kulanka Culimada (the council of the religious leaders) was founded in February 1991 in the Somali capital of Mogadishu. Its known members include Al Qaeda in Somalia, Al Itihad in Somalia, Mogadishu Islamic Courts Union, to name a few.

2. Sheik Hassan Dahir Aweys is internationally known Islamic extremist dubbed “The Osama bin Laden of Somalia”. The United States linked Sheik Hassan Dahir Aweys to al-Qaida shortly after the September 11 terror attacks. The United States and the United Nations have both designated Aweys as a Specially Designated National and Blocked Person. Follow this link, , to read about this wanted international terrorist.

Sheik Hassan is a former Somalia army colonel and the former military commander of Al Itihad in Somalia.

3. Sheik Nur Barud is the vice chairman and the de facto leader of the much feared Kulanka Culimada.

4. Al Itihad (Islamic Union): here we are dealing with Al Itihad in Somalia only which is a member of the International Al Itihad.

5. Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed, 42, studied Islam in Sudan and Libya. He is the most powerful Islamist in Mogadishu.

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