Yet, while persecution has been the norm for Somali Christians, al Shabab has taken it to a whole new and brutally disturbing level.
In 2008, al Shabab members sliced the head off of Mansuur Mohammed, a 25 year-old convert to Christianity. According to witnesses, the insurgents took a video of the slaughter and circulated it in Somalia purportedly to instill fear among those contemplating conversion from Islam to Christianity.
In July 2009, al Shabab beheaded seven prisoners it accused of abandoning the Muslim faith; in August 2009 four Somali Christian women working for an NGO orphanage were beheaded after refusing to renounce their faith; and in July 2009 a 40-year-old Christian mother of 10 and her 23-year-old daughter, who was six months pregnant at the time, were both raped and held captive for five days before the terrorists left them for dead.
In July 2010, Muhammad Guul Hashim Idiris, a Christian convert from Islam, was taken by al Shabab members to a makeshift soccer stadium, attended by hundreds, and executed. A statement from Sheik Adan Yare, the al Shabab governor of the Bakol region, read: “Our holy warriors have today…executed in front of angry Muslim witnesses a young man who insulted our beloved prophet.”
In September 2010 al Shabab members broke into the home of Osman Abdullah Fataho, an active participant in the underground Christian community, and shot him dead in front of his wife and four children. The terrorists then took Fataho’s children as recruits to be trained as child soldiers in its organization.
In January 2011 insurgents slit the throat of Asha Mberwa, a recent convert to Christianity and mother of four; in March 2011 al Shabab insurgents shot Madobe Abdi to death. Abdi’s alleged crime was not that he was a convert from Islam but rather was an orphan raised as a Christian.
Finally, in May 2011 militants shot and killed Yusuf Ali Nur on suspicion he was a Christian as well as killing 21-year old Christian convert Hassan Adawe Adan, dragging Adan outside and shooting him several times before shouting Allahu Akbar (“God is great”).
Yet, while al Shabab has worked fervently to kill all of Somalia’s Christians, the terror group has other avenues by which it hopes to wipe all vestiges of Christianity’s presence from Somalia.
For example, in April 2010 al Shabab outlawed school teachers using bells to signal the beginning of class because “Christian churches also sound bells.” According to an al Shabab spokesman, Sheik Farah Kalar, “All schools must stop using the bell to summon students; otherwise they will face punishment.”
Most recently, al Shabab instituted a ban on Samosas, a popular Somali food staple, from its territory because the pastry is fried in a triangular shape that looks suspiciously similar to the Christian Holy Trinity symbol.
So, tragically, the news that al Shabab is now using the current famine in Somalia to deliberately kill Somali Christians isn’t very astonishing. Rather, what truly is amazing is that there are still Christians left alive in that ravaged country in which to be killed.
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