Sunday, October 12, 2008

Somali Church Leader Assaulted in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Islamic extremists beat Mr. Ibrahim Yusuf [name changed for security reasons], a 35-year-old Somali church leader, on September 20 in the neighborhood Saris in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, reports Michael Ireland, chief correspondent, ASSIST News Service.

The Washington-DC based human rights group, International Christian Concern (ICC), says Mr. Yusuf, who lives in another neighborhood in Addis Ababa, went to Saris to pick up documents that were left behind by his good friend David Abdulwahab Mohamed Ali.

The documents are about the persecution of the Somali churches. Mr. Ali was martyred in Somalia in April 2008 by Islamic militants.

According to Yusuf, a Somali Muslim man entered the house where the documents had been safeguarded since Ali's death and demanded to see them. Yusuf refused and the Muslim man left after threatening him.

ICC says that a few hours later, Yusuf left with the documents and was ambushed by five Muslim men who kicked and punched him repeatedly until he fainted and fell on the ground. Even after he fainted, the men continued their merciless assault for at least another fifteen minutes, according to the police report.

The attackers fled the scene when two policemen arrived. Yusuf was taken to Model Medium Clinic in Addis Ababa where he was treated and regained consciousness. He suffered lacerations and kidney and head injuries as a result of the attack.

ICC said two of the Muslim attackers were arrested on September 21. The rest are on the run.

The documents are now in safe hands.

Saris neighborhood is one of Addis Ababa's "little Mogadishus," populated by Somali refugees who have fled war-torn Somalia. The persecution against the Somali church has intensified since the beginning of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

ICC explains that Somalis are predominately Muslims, but, there are many Somalis who are becoming Christians as a result of the hard work of missionaries.

Somalis who convert to Christianity face death. In the past year alone, five Somali converts to Christianity were killed simply for their faith. Even Somalis who live in neighboring countries such as Ethiopia and Kenya face persecution.

ICC's Regional Manager for Africa, Jonathan Racho, said, "It is unfortunate that Christian Somalis face persecution in countries where they live as refugees. We hope that Ethiopian authorities will take the necessary action to bring the perpetrators of the attack against Yusuf to justice."

ICC is a Washington-DC based human rights organization that exists to help persecuted Christians worldwide. ICC provides Awareness, Advocacy, and Assistance to the worldwide persecuted Church.

Please contact ICC If you would like to take part in assistance to Somali Christians.

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