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The Islamist terrorist group al Shabab is intentionally starving Somali Christians in territory it controls. It’s just the latest incident in the terror group’s systematic efforts to eradicate all of Somalia’s Christians.
According to the International Christian Concern (ICC), al Shabab’s intentional denial of humanitarian aid has resulted in the deliberate starvation of 18 Christians in the Somali cities of Afgoye, Baidawa, and Kismayo. As ICC spokesman Jonathan Racho said, “Any Somali that is suspected of being a Christian, or a friend of a Christian, does not receive any food aid.”
Unfortunately, the ongoing and purposeful elimination of the small Somali Christian community at the hands of al Shabab has gone largely unrecognized and unreported, eclipsed by the other horrors of rape, torture and murder perpetrated upon most of Somalia’s Muslim population by the Islamist terrorist group.
It goes without saying that al Shabab’s brutality has been well documented, most recently in a report issued by Human Rights Watch, which found the terror group continuing to carry out public beheadings and floggings; forced recruitment of children into its forces; and the denial of humanitarian assistance to the 2.2 million starving Somalis in al Shabab-controlled territory.
So, it shouldn’t surprise that al Shabab, which has openly professed its intention to rid Somalia of a Christian presence, is focusing its particular brand of barbarity on Somali Christians. After all, this is the same group that in August 2010 banned three Christian Aid Groups that it stated were “acting as missionaries under the guise of humanitarian work” while at the same time spreading what they termed as “corrupted ideologies in order to taint the pure creed of the Muslims in Somalia.”
Of course, it should be noted that the persecution of Christian Somalis pre-dates the rise of al Shabab. That assault arose from the outset of Somalia’s 1991 civil war and has gone unabated ever since. During that time it is estimated that over a thousand Somali Christian adults have been killed in this overwhelmingly Muslim country, with thousands of others forced to either flee Somalia or deny their faith to save their lives.
While Somalia’s Transnational Federal Government ostensibly grants religious freedom, it is either unable or unwilling to enforce those rights. As such, the enforcement of Islamic law is carried out from area to area and clan to clan, often with brutal consequences. The result has been to reduce the Christian population down to an estimated 1,000 and drive the remaining worshipers underground.
In a disturbing report gathered from Open Doors, a British-based Christian aid organization, Somali Christians gather secretly at pre-arranged meeting places to worship. According to the report, “These believers dare not meet for longer than three hours. Careful not to leave any tracks, they abandon the meeting place separately at intervals…When caught with a Bible, Christians face certain death.”
One of these underground believers said, “We know that anyone suspected of being a Christian will be tortured or even killed. So we pray secretly. We have prayed in mosque prayer rooms but despite our precautions many of our friends have been killed. We now live in fear.” Another Christian said he converted from Islam and told his family who then kept him in a dark room for 13 days without food until his mother begged the father to let him go.
One truly horrifying incident occurred in December 2010, when a 17-year-old girl who converted to Christianity was shot to death by relatives. The young girl had escaped her village after her parents had shackled her to a tree and tortured her for leaving Islam
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