Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Condolence: The Late Rev. Yaqub Mohamed

Rev. Yaqub Mohamed (1965-2008)

SFJ! announces with great sadness the sudden death of Rev. Yaqub Mohamed (MTh, Princeton; MA, Concordia) in Minnesota, USA. Rev. Yaqub Mohamed passed away on 08 November 2008.

The Somali church lost an irreplaceable shepherd; we mourn and the community of Faith mourns with us.

May our esteemed Reverend rest in peace.

Here is one American published article about Rev. Yaqub Mohamed and his ministry:

SomServ reaches out to largest Somali community in U.S.

By Dan Olson

Relationships between Somali Muslims and American Christians are becoming more common as Somalis begin to fully integrate into the fabric of the Twin Cities. Somalis and Christians pass on the sidewalk, work side by side and shop in the same stores. Muslim faith understandably remains central - even essential - to the cultural identity of many Somalis here.

One notable exception is the Rev. Yaqub Mohamed, his organization SomServ and the United Somali Fellowship (USF).

Mohamed is a native-born Somali living in Minneapolis. What makes him unique, however, is that he is also an ordained Christian minister. He came to Christ in 1986 through German missionaries in Djibouti, a small country north of Somalia, and has since desired to bring the Gospel to his fellow Somalians.

For years he and his wife believed their ministry would be in Somalia. Little did he know that it would happen in Minneapolis, Minn.

During the Somali civil war Mohamed came to America as a refugee, arriving in Dallas, Texas, in 1990. After moving around, he eventually graduated from Princeton Seminary and has served parishes in New Jersey and Florida.

Since arriving, he has always seen the Twin Cities, with its large Somali population, as the perfect place to start SomServ.

The opportunity to move came in 2000 at a missions conference in California. There he met Jon Good, then pastor of Christ Presbyterian Church in Edina, who offered him some support. With support from a number of local churches, SomServ began operating in 2000, being granted nonprofit status in February 2003.

Unlike other churches and mission groups who focus on social justice and de-emphasize sharing their convictions, Mohamed and SomServ are focused on holistic ministry, including a religious dialogue component.

"We respect the people and we respect the culture," he said about his fellow Somalis, but, "We are willing to just share who we are." Instead of simply serving Somali immigrants and refugees, he said, "We would rather be open to loving and serving and sharing the Gospel." In other words, the approach of SomServ is to offer the same assistance that other groups offer - ESL, mentoring, employment assistance - but to be direct about the reasons behind its ministry.

In response to those Christians who might suggest that serving needs is enough, Mohamed feels it would be dishonest not to fully disclose the reason behind their service. He says that their goal is to be "honestly and truthfully and lovingly direct."

According to Mohamed, SomServ's most active ministry thus far is Somali Adult Literacy Training (SALT), serving 120 Somali adults at five sites around the Twin Cities. With over 100 volunteers from surrounding churches, Mohamed hopes that bringing together American Christians and Somali Muslims will lead to mutual understanding and respect for one another's convictions.

During the month of Ramadan, for example, Somali students share about the meaning of Ramadan, while Christian teachers will share about biblical teaching on fasting. In time, Mohamed believes some Somalis will choose to follow Christ.

He remains very sensitive, however, to the difficulties of being an immigrant/refugee community. Here in America, Somalis straddle two cultures and are often part of families torn apart by civil war.

Along with clan tensions within the community, Somali youth face the pressures that come with high school and the temptations of secular culture. It can be a tumultuous time.

SomServ has begun a program geared toward youth called Somali Youth Reach (SYR) for those looking for guidance in America.

According to Mohamed, "We want to provide a bridge whereby we can work alongside them ... just guide them to right decisions and rightopportunities."

Other SomServ ministry programs include Safe Home, which focuses on assisting Somali women adjust to American life, and Somali Christian Project, which focuses on microeconomic empowerment.

Besides the work of SomServ, Mohamed dedicates much time to discipling the USF, the largest community of Somali Christians inAmerica. This fellowship, a Christian community of Somalis, is the only known Somali Christian community in the U.S. While some local church leaders are reluctant to draw Somalis away from their immigrant communities and the religious teachings that hold them together, Mohamed sees an implicit stereotype in their concern.

"One of the issues we have is that a lot of church leaders basically have this one stereotype of the Somali community," he said, "Just as much as there is diversity in the American community, so there is diversity in the Somali community.

There are fanatics, there are liberals, there are feminists, there are communists, there are good people - it's all there. And you will find all people where they stand." For Mohamed, the USF is a place where Somali Christians can gather and find community and be discipled.

"It is interdenominational as a mission but united in teaching." Noting the theological confusion among many Christians today, Mohamed stresses that "it is good for the Muslims to see that we are united as Christians."

While many Somalis remain leery about Christian churches in general, Mohamed sees the Gospel as potentially transformative for the Somali community in the Twin Cities, who have experienced wars and for whom clan identity is so important.

"The name United Somali Fellowship has meaning behind it: We come as people who come from a civil war that had interclan wars and fights. In Christ we see ourselves as new creatures, and as new creatures we are one body - the body of Jesus Christ. And so whatever the clan, in Christ we are united." According to Mohamed, those Somalis who have joined the USF have experienced this transformation and hope others will experience the same.

Mohamed's vision for his fellow Somalis is a boldly Christian one, and he invites other local Christians to join in supporting the work of SomServ and the USF.

According to the Rev. Peter Della Santina, head pastor of Knox Presbyterian Church, a church that supports the work of SomServ, "It's an unreached people group in our own back yard."

Somali statistics for the Twin Cities
- At 55,000, the Cities have the largest Somali population in the world, outside of Somalia.

- 40 percent of Roosevelt H. S. is comprised of Somali youth Somalis are concentrated in the Phillips and Powderhorn neighborhoods in Mpls. and the West Bank area of the University of
Minnesota and Elliot Park neighborhood.

Many live in the suburbs and St. Paul, as well as moving out to more rural areas.

There are over 200 Somali businesses in the Twin Cities, including a Somali mall at Pillsbury and Lake Street.

There are around 450 Somali cab drivers in the Twin Cities.

Source: CityScope Report 2004, RIR).

We will post more information on Rev. Yaqub Mohamed and his ministry in the next few days--the Lord willing.


Anonymous said...

I thought this article would be helpful. It is about Liibaan Ibraahim Hassan:

Sunday, January 27, 2008
Muslim to Christian (Liban Ibrahim Hassan - Somali Martyr)
Liibaan Ibraahim Xasan (Liban Ibrahim Hassan) was shot dead in Muqdisho (Mogadishu), apparently because of his Christian activities in the Somali capital.

While growing up, Liibaan had listened to Christian radio broadcasts both in Somali and in English. In 1982, at the age of about 13, he read Sigmund Freud's Dreams, which disturbed him so much that he began to suffer from insomnia. Traditional solutions - visits to sheikhs, reading the Qur'an etc. - did not cure him. An expatriate Christian gave him a New Testament and suggested that he read the first letter of John. During the mid-1980s Liibaan struggled over deep theological and spiritual issues as he read the Bible in Italian and English. He also read Italian devotional books on the epistles of Paul. He prayed for God to show him the right path.

Liibaan became dissatisfied with Islam for a variety of reasons. He wondered why it was necessary always to pray to God in Arabic, a foreign language. He wondered why it was necessary to face Mecca when praying. Ethical issues also troubled him, particularly the fact that the Quran, he believed, sanctioned polygamy and abuse of women.

Finally, in 1985, Liibaan decided that only the Bible could be true and not the Qur'an. He decided that the first thing he must do as a follower of Jesus Christ was to practice humility. (Humility is not normally considered a desirable trait in Somali culture.) Liibaan's friends began to notice a change in him the following year, and he told them about his new faith. In 1990 he sent off for a Somali New Testament. "Please be aware that if you send me [this book] you will be sending me the greatest gift that can be given to a human," he wrote.

In 1992 Liibaan married a young lady from his neighborhood. He also desired baptism and traveled to Ethiopia in order to be baptized. In December 1992 Liibaan's wife decided to join her husband in following Jesus Christ and was baptized.

The civil war in Somalia provided Liibaan with many opportunities to witness. While working in the hospital, medical staff noticed that he had a totally different attitude from the other workers. He did not differentiate between patients based on their clan. He showed sympathy and concern for people; working as a nurse's aide in the operating room was not just a job for Liibaan.

He used to have religious discussions with a sheikh who had been badly wounded. Later, he donated blood for this man, and after the sheikh had recovered Liibaan told him to listen to the Somali Christian radio broadcasts. In due course the sheikh wrote to the radio station to request Christian Scriptures and a correspondence course.

This sheikh was just one of many whose lives were touched by Liibaan. He encouraged numbers of people to study the Scriptures and some of them embraced Christianity. The scattered Christians in Muqdisho met in his home and he pastored them. At the relief agency where he worked, all the workers went to him with their problems. Even the men who guarded the vehicles of the relief agency - battle-hardened veterans of the street fighting of the past four years of civil war - had perceptibly changed through their contact with Liibaan.

Such a bold Christian stance made him notorious in a country which is almost 100% Muslim. In 1993 Islamic radicals criticized his activities in newspaper articles.

On the morning of 21 March 1994, two gunmen were waiting for Liibaan on the sandy road near his office. At 7.30 a.m., as he was walking to work, they ambushed him and shot him at close range. He died a few minutes later.

It is not known who killed him, but it is most likely that the motives were religious. Many Muslims believe that it is their duty to kill an apostate themselves if the state fails to uphold the sharia and that God will reward them for it.


Anonymous said...

What a bullshit and fiction story

Anonymous said...

How sick can someone be to leave a concreat, understandable and the only true religion of God for a man-made religion that doesn't even understand the division of divine power ie God from human's filth? How humiliating they lived their 'christian', how humiliating they died and for sure they will be resurrcted with humiliation. if killed they deserved it, if they committed suicide they deserved it and they deserve the hell they'll enter.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure that he is Saint, what I can't understand is why those who says that Islam is the rught way can't explain why Islam is based on haterd of others and why if it the right one, why it lives on forcing ppl to follow it rather letting them choose thier way?,
I'm a Somali, and I thank the Lord that I found my way towared eternity, and the word of HIM will reach all the world , even such forgotten place like Somali, we pray for ppl like Daint Liban and many others who where the victims of those who still blind....

Anonymous said...

The founders and creators of this website are severly misguided and I advise you strongly to return to the true faith, Islam. Although I do not agree with the policies of Al Shabab half the things in the article of the so called Saint Libaan are false, women are not abused in Islam and certainly not in Somali culture.Christianity was not made for anyone and certainly not Somalis so return to the true faith.

Anonymous said...

To my surprise i haven't seen any Somalis so call Somali Christian come out and reveal his/her identity. If your truly Somali origin why hide your identity and come out for a debate us. I doubt there's any Somali Christian exist as they always calaim.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ayshat said...

Alleluia! Jesus is Lord, indeed the bible prophecy is full filled, seeing that the devout Somali Muslims openly coming to Christ, is so awesome! Im so thrilled, because I too was a Muslim, but out of HIS divine grace I've now seen the Light of Jesus, and whenever I met Somalis in London( by the way Im not a Somalian), but my spirit was so much drawn to these wonderful, beautiful people God has created in HIS divine image, yet they dont know HIM, so I earnestly prayed that the HOLY GHOST would convict them to Christ, and because HE is ever so true and
faithful to HIS promise in Isaiah 18 it is written specifA Prophecy Against Cush

18 Woe to the land of whirring wings[a]
along the rivers of Cush,[b]
2 which sends envoys by sea
in papyrus boats over the water.
Go, swift messengers,
to a people tall and smooth-skinned,
to a people feared far and wide,
an aggressive nation of strange speech,
whose land is divided by rivers.
3 All you people of the world,
you who live on the earth,
when a banner is raised on the mountains,
you will see it,
and when a trumpet sounds,
you will hear it.
4 This is what the Lord says to me:
“I will remain quiet and will look on from my dwelling place,
like shimmering heat in the sunshine,
like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest.”
5 For, before the harvest, when the blossom is gone
and the flower becomes a ripening grape,
he will cut off the shoots with pruning knives,
and cut down and take away the spreading branches.
6 They will all be left to the mountain birds of prey
and to the wild animals;
the birds will feed on them all summer,
the wild animals all winter.
7 At that time gifts will be brought to the Lord Almighty

from a people tall and smooth-skinned,
from a people feared far and wide,
an aggressive nation of strange speech,
whose land is divided by rivers —
the gifts will be brought to Mount Zion, the place of the Name of the Lord Almighty.

Isaiah 18:1 Or of locusts
Isaiah 18:1 That is, the upper Nile region
ically for the Somalians

Anonymous said...

Our Lord is a good example for us, his children. He was persecuted and killed on the Cross though he conquered death when he was raised three days later... all his disciples wers killed except John whose brother James was the first martyr of believers...
Though I was born Muslim, I don't regret my decision to follow the Lord Jesus Christ and believe in Him. I believe he is my shepperd; He takes care of me wherever I go. I find some somalis get so mad and furious when they hear this. They think all human beings are slaves in iron cages, without any choice or liberty. Those who killed our brothers in Christ are wrong. They are thirsty for human blood... but We, Somali believers and follwers of the Lord Jesus Christ, respect our people, Somalis, and love them...We will always be Somalis because we are part of that nation; these are fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers.

I'd like to comment on the word SHIRK used by a heart full of hatred and misguidence. There is no shirk whatoever in believing in Jesus because it is not all about numbers...I mean you have the human-made number 3 in your mind! but bear with me, you have that same in an Islamic trinity : Allah, Muhamad, Quraan.
You say the Quraan is the word of God and not created as you believe and then you refuse Jesus to be the Word of God though clearly states this truth...

God is almighty. His might and power are infinite. Your tiny human cannot imagine it because you want to put God in a small man-made box and carry in your pocket. That is absolutely ridiculous.
May the Lord Jesus Christ bless those somalis who suffered for His name to be glorified in Somalia..in the name of Jesus...Aamiin.

Anonymous said...

The prophecy tells about Ahmad; 'Servant of God' whom will war to correct the wrongs and bringing judgement based on the law of God. He will also liberate Arabia from worshiping molten images. Wilderness (desert), villages and cities will glorify God since then. As can be seen today, whole of Arabia are worshiping,praising God and singing words of God daily.

And we continue reading Isaiah 42:18 - 25; about Children of Israel, whom will still be deaf and blind neglecting the message brought by this 'Servant of God'.

In Isaiah 42:1, it is not a coincidence upon seeing the writing of both אתמך (Atmc) אחמד (Ahmd). And the word before אתמך (Atmc), is עבדי (Abedi~My Servant). For indeed, It is indicating Ahmad; Abedallah (Ahmad; Servant of God).

Not to mention אתמך (Atmc) is a special term foretelling the coming of a righteous man and is used only ONCE throughout the entire Book. [could this be a copying error or an intended error?]

Children of Israel have been foretold upon the coming of Ahmad but sadly, only a few accepts.