Somali convert attacked by Muslim relatives because of his Christian faith

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A Somali Christian convert suffered a brutal attack from his Muslim relatives, leading to serious injuries and separation from his wife and five children.

Mohammad Abdul, 40, was attacked on May 5 on the outskirts of Kismayo, a port city in Somalia’s Lower Juba region, after converting to Christianity on March 20, Morning Star News reported. According to an anonymous source, who withheld their names for security reasons, Abdul’s relatives took his wife and children with them while he was recovering from the attack at a medical clinic.

“While Abdul was injured, the Muslims went back to his house and started destroying his house, and the woman and the five children went back with their people,” the source said. “His wife has told him that the Muslims are looking for him, and that is why he should not go back to them.”

According to the Morning Star News service, Abdul suffered a “deep cut to his head” and a “broken hand” in the attack. For his safety, he moved to another city in Somalia.

Abdul converted to Christianity after a Somali pastor living abroad visited him with the gospel in March this year. He began praying and studying the Bible every evening with his family and the visiting Christian leader.

The trouble started when Abdul’s youngest child, five, mentioned these meetings to a neighbor, prompting Abdul’s wife to suggest to the visiting pastor that he leave for his own safety.

After his departure on April 11, the pastor received updates from Abdul about threatening text messages he had received from his Muslim relatives. “We are now aware that you are praying every night in the name of Issa (Jesus) and that you are reading a damaged book and not reading the Quran, the holy book sent by Allah to Muhammad,” one message said. “If you don’t stop this evil way of religious activities, you are risking your life.”

While his wife distanced herself from Christian prayers out of fear, Abdul continued to develop his faith in the gospel alone.

“Two of my children continued to share the kind of prayers I did with other children,” Abdul explained. “On May 2, my youngest son arrived crying because he had been hit by some boys after he told them I was reading the Bible and praying.”

The situation escalated on May 5 around 7:30 PM when Abdul’s Muslim relatives stormed his house. “They were screaming and shouting that they were looking for my head,” Abdul said. “The attackers forcibly entered the house and started interrogating me for leaving Islam and joining an evil religion. My wife and children seemed shocked.”

Abdul was beaten with a sharp knife by one of his relatives. “The children started wailing and crying in a very loud voice, which confused the attackers,” he said. “I then managed to escape through the back door, bleeding, and slept in the house of one of my relatives, about 5 kilometers away.”

He has called for prayers for his family, with whom he remains in contact.

Somalia’s constitution declares Islam the state religion and prohibits the spread of any other faith, mandating that laws conform to the principles of Sharia (Islamic law). Apostasy is punishable by death according to mainstream Islamic jurisprudence. The extremist group Al Shabaab, affiliated with Al Qaeda, strictly enforces these laws and has murdered numerous non-local people in northern Kenya since 2011.

Somalia ranks second on Christian support group Open Doors’ World Watch List 2024 of the 50 countries where it is most challenging to be a Christian.

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