by Lela Gilbert
April 19, 2021
The East African country of Somalia is infamous for several reasons:
For hosting the bloodthirsty Islamist al-Shabaab terrorist group.
For being the site of the well-known “Black Hawk Down” battle which devastated U.S. military personnel and American efforts to provide humanitarian aid to the country.
And when it comes to human rights, poverty-stricken and war-torn Somalia has another particularly ugly mark against it: According to Open Doors’ World Watch List, Somalia is the third worst persecutor of Christians in the world.
Right now, April 19, 2021, a trial is taking place in Hargeisa, Somaliland that could cost the lives of six Somali Christians – all of them courageous converts from Islam who have been accused of “crimes” that may carry a death sentence.
Please pray with us for these Christians now and in the days to come.
According to court documents, the accusations against these believers include the following:
“…disrupting the religious activities of the republic of Somaliland (Islamic religion), uniting and inciting against the law…because you have all been involved in spreading the Christian Protestant religion in Somaliland, and disrupting the faith of the Muslim community in the Republic of Somaliland by proselytizing and encouraging them to leave Islam and convert to Christianity…”
The court’s evidence for these life-and-death accusations includes:
- Two books about Christianity and written in Somali that were taken from the house of accused;
- A letter written in Somali about the Christian religion;
- Bibles written in English and Bibles written in Amharic;
- Numerous other books and extensive data from the defendants’ computers.
For Christians under such circumstances, the threat is not insignificant. As the U.S. State Department 2020 report explained regarding the situation in Somalia:
“Al-Shabaab continued to impose its own interpretation of Islamic practices and sharia on other Muslims and non-Muslims, including executions as a penalty for alleged apostasy in areas under its control, according to media and UN sources.”
I wasn’t particularly surprised to learn that Christians were attacked in Somalia. More amazing to me was that after so many battle-scarred years and violent incidents, any Christians remained there at all. And not only do they remain, but according to reports, there are hundreds of new believers who continue to worship in secret underground churches – small gatherings comprised entirely of brave and faithful local converts from Islam.
Please take time today to pray for these brave and bold Christians who are facing a potentially painful future. Join us as we thank the Lord for their courage and remarkable faith. And ask the Lord to guide, protect and intervene for them – today and in the days to come, in Jesus’ name.