Theme: Jihad in Somalia
Reuters: Islamic Extremist Group Vows to Kill All Somalian Christians (2004)
The Mogadishu based Somali fundamentalist group, Kulanka Culimada, accused Christian aid workers in Somalia of spreading Christianity in the coastal city of Merca. Reuters reported on April 21 that the militant group said if the Christianization in Somalia does not stop, “the Somalia people have a right to jihad…the politically influential group based in the capital Mogadishu said in a statement issued on Tuesday.” A widely read Somali website, Hiiraan, posted April 20 a press release from the militant group signed by Sheikh Nur Barud, the vice chairman of the Kulanka Culimada.
The Sheikh said in an edict “Somalis must come out on April 22 to protest against the Christianization in Somalia.” The Sheikh also accused Christian aid workers of “planting Somali Christians in the country.” Sheikh Nur Barud who was the key figure in this press conference said “Some Somalis who claimed to be Christians went to attend the Somali reconciliation conference [in Nairobi]. These Somalis are apostates and they will be killed upon their return to Somalia.”
The fiery Kulanka Culimada was founded in February 1991. Most of the key leaders in this group are graduates from Islamic seminaries in Saudi Arabia. A Somali reporter from Himilo online interviewed Sheik Nur Barud in November 2003. The Sheikh reiterated in this interview “all Somali Christians must be killed according to the Islamic law. A Muslim can never become a Christian but he can become an apostate. Such people do not have a place in Somalia and we will never recognize their existence and we will slaughter them.”
The Sheikh concluded his interview by saying that “Somalis are 100% Muslim and they will always remain so.”
CWNews: Widspread desecration of Christian graves in Somalia (2005)
Paramilitary groups in Somalia have engaged in widespread looting of Christian graves, according to reports from the country’s capital, Mogadishu.
A cemetery opened in Mogadishu by the Italian colonial regime generations ago has been desecrated, with about 700 graves destroyed and the remains dumped at a nearby abandoned air base. Most of the graves are those of Italian soldiers and expatriates who lived and worked in Somalia during the colonial era, up until 1950.
It is not clear why the militia groups are destroying the graves, but observers assume that the gangs are looking for precious items that could be sold for profit.
However, the show of contempt for Christian burial grounds also raises questions about the popular attitude toward the faith. Some Christians had hoped to return to Somalia under the protection of the new Transitional Federal Government, whose charter promises freedom of worship. But the desecrations in Mogadishu suggest that the government- which has not yet established control of the capital– may be unable to protect a Christian minority.
Most of Somalia’s Christian missions left the country in 1991, when it lapsed into anarchy. Since that time there has been no central government, and the country has been divided among contending warlords and their militia groups. Looting by those militias has become commonplace.
Persecution Blog: Muslims Continue to Persecute Christians in Somalia (2006)
The following information is exclusively from The Voice of the Marytrs media room.
• Since U.S. and U.N. peacekeeping troops left in 1995, Islamic mobs have murdered more than 500 members of the persecuted church in Somalia. Militia groups were incited to kill Christians and Jews to gain the shortest route to heaven. Christians Liban Gala, John Warsame and Mudde Ali were shot in front of a cheering crowd before verses from the Koran were read over their bodies, which were later dumped and half-eaten by wild dogs. Martyrs’ bodies, including those of Michael Guleed and Afgoye Somalia, were even dragged behind trucks.
• Somali Christian refugee, Diriye Barre of Minneapolis, recounted how Muslim militants left him for dead after shooting out his right eye and piercing his neck with a second bullet. He is fortunate, as Christians are now the only group having no place to flee in Somalia, and cannot register as refugees to resettle in other countries. Because refugee camps are controlled by Muslims, most believers have fled to the remote areas of Ethiopia and Kenya along the border.
• Somalia’s persecuted church was started by British protestant missionaries in the north and Italian Catholic missionaries in the south decades ago, and it remains a small minority. Islamic organizations consider all Somali nationals as Muslims by birth, calling for Shariah law’s death sentence on Christian converts. Foreign relief workers have been killed in front of their children in their own homes, which were then burned. This happened to World Vision’s Mr. Shikhdoon and Swedish Relief Organization’s Mr. Salmon. The Muslim mob later forced themselves upon the martyrs’ wives after threatening them to reconvert.
The Age: Somali cleric calls for pope’s death (2006)
A hardline cleric linked to Somalia’s powerful Islamist movement has called for Muslims to “hunt down” and kill Pope Benedict XVI for his controversial comments about Islam.
Sheikh Abubukar Hassan Malin urged Muslims to find the pontiff and punish him for insulting the Prophet Mohammed and Allah in a speech that he said was as offensive as author Salman Rushdie’s novel The Satanic Verses.
“We urge you Muslims wherever you are to hunt down the Pope for his barbaric statements as you have pursued Salman Rushdie, the enemy of Allah who offended our religion,” he said in Friday evening prayers.
“Whoever offends our Prophet Mohammed should be killed on the spot by the nearest Muslim,” Malin, a prominent cleric in the Somali capital, told worshippers at a mosque in southern Mogadishu.
Independent Catholic News: Tribute to Sister Leonella Agorbati, killed in Somalia (2006)
On Sunday September 17, 2006 at around 12.00 am (-4 GMT), she was ambushed while crossing the road that separates the SOS hospital from the SOS village where the five Consolata Sisters live. Her two assailants waited her, hidden behind the taxis and kiosks that are found on that stretch of road at the entrance of the hospital. She was shot first in the thigh; when her bodyguard fired back, they shot and killed him, hitting the sister with two extra bullets, one of which entered her back and severed the femoral artery, causing a massive haemorrhage. Taking promptly to the theatre, she died shortly after. Her dying words were uttered in Italian: pardono, pardono (I forgive, I forgive).
Sister Leonella was well aware of the danger surrounding her. As she used to say, she knew that there was a bullet with her name engraved on it just waiting for her in Mogadishu. But this never deterred her or discouraged her. She was certain that God wanted her in Somalia. For her, that was the will of God. So nothing could stop her in the mission undertaken, not even the knowledge that she could be killed any time. For this reason she dedicated herself completely, sparing no effort and truly turning every stone to accomplish the mission of setting up the school of nursing, to give hope and a future to a country ravaged by war. Her love for God and the Somali people was stronger than any fear, and she strongly believed in the people she was serving.
FIDES/CWNews: Clans, Islam, criminals fan violence in Somalia, bishop reports (2007)
Bishop Giorgio Bertin, the apostolic administrator of Mogadishu, has condemned the continual violence in Somalia, saying that “no one seems to want dialogue or peace.”
Somalia remains in chaos, Bishop Bertin reported, with militia groups headed by traditional warlords battling for control with Ethiopian troops and soldiers supporting the transition national government.
Somalia has not had an effective national government for years, and clan leaders are resisting the assertion of control by the transitional government, which was set up in October 2004 after lengthy negotiations but has not yet been able to establish control in the African country.
Bishop Bertin told the Fides news service that clan leaders were intent on preserving their own hegemony, and saw transitional government leaders only as members of rival clans. He said that If Somali clan leaders want to alleviate the suffering of their people, “they must give a little and allow the recognised institutions restore some order in the country.”
But clan rivalries alone cannot explain the latest round of violence in Somalia, which has cost an estimated 200,000 deaths, Bishop Bertin continued. He charged that the fighting is “clearly influenced by radical Islamism and major economic interests of criminal organizations which have nothing to do with politics or religion but want to create more chaos in order to continue their illegal business undisturbed.”
Is Somalia Becoming New Islamic Terrorist State? (2006)