Christian convert in Somalia wounded, loses family

Destroyed home of Mohammad Abdul on outskirts of Kismayo, Somalia (PHOTO: Morning Star News)

Originally published in Morning Star News

A Muslim in Somalia was seriously wounded for putting his faith in Christ this month and lost his wife and five children, sources said.

Mohammad Abdul, 40, survived a knife attack by his Muslim relatives on the outskirts of Kismayo, a port city in southern Somalia’s Lower Juba region, on May  5 after converting to Chritianity on March 20. The relatives took his wife and children while he was recovering at a medical clinic, said a source whose name is withheld for security reasons.

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

Abdul suffered a deep cut on his head and a fractured hand in the attack. Fearing for his life, he has moved to another city in Somalia, the source said.

After coming to Christ when a Somali pastor residing outside of Somalia visited him with the gospel in March, Abdul began praying and studying the Bible with his family and the Christian leader every evening, the pastor said. When Abdul’s youngest child, 5, mentioned the meetings to a neighbor, his wife suggested the visiting pastor leave for his own safety.

After leaving on April 11, the pastor heard from Abdul that the Muslim relatives were sending him threatening text messages, he said.

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“We are now aware that every evening you are praying in the name of Issa [Jesus] as well as reading a corrupted book and not reading the Quran, the holy book sent to Muhammad from Allah,” read one of the text messages, according to the pastor. “If you do not stop this bad way of conducting religious activities, then you risk your life.”

As his wife became more fearful of relatives and withdrew from Christian prayers, Abdul continued alone, he said.

“Two of my children continued sharing with other children the kind of prayers I was making,” Abdul told Morning Star News. “On May 2, my younger son arrived crying that he was beaten by some boys after telling them about my reading the Bible and praying.”

On the evening of May 5 at about 7:30 p.m., the Muslim relatives arrived at his house, he said.

“They were shouting and yelling that they were looking for my head,” Abdul told Morning Star News. “The attackers forcibly entered the house and started questioning me for forsaking Islam and joining a bad religion. My wife and children looked shaken.”

One of his relatives struck him with a sharp knife, he said.

“The children began wailing and crying in a very loud voice, which confused the attackers,” Abdul said. “I then managed to escape through the rear door, bleeding, and slept at one of my relative’s home about 5 kilometers away.”

He requested prayer that God may provide for his family, with whom he still communicates.

Somalia’s constitution establishes Islam as the state religion and prohibits the propagation of any other religion, according to the U.S. State Department. It also requires that laws comply with sharia (Islamic law) principles, with no exceptions in application for non-Muslims.

The death penalty for apostasy is part of Islamic law according to mainstream schools of Islamic jurisprudence. An Islamic extremist group in Somalia, Al Shabaab, is allied with Al Qaeda and adheres to the teaching.

Al Shabaab or Al Shabaab sympathizers also have killed several non-local people in northern Kenya since 2011, when Kenyan forces led an African coalition into Somalia against the rebels in response to terrorist attacks on tourists and others on Kenya’s coast.

Somalia is ranked second Open Doors’ 2024 World Watch List of the 50 countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian.

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