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Published on 03 September, 2010

Somali militants chase Christians who’ve fled

Ethiopia (MNN) – After months of
evading his pursuers, they finally caught up with him.

Voice of the Martyrs Canada confirms
that on August 21, Islamic militants in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia found Mohamed Ali
Garas, a prominent Somali church leader and convert from Islam, and beat him
severely. 

Five years ago, Garas fled his Somali
homeland. VOMC's Greg Musselman says
Garas he sought refuge in Ethiopia because "he was involved in church work
there as a pastor. Attempts were made on his life. He's been threatened, he's
been arrested."

On the night he was attacked, he
was walking home when he heard two men calling his name. He turned to see what they wanted, and they attacked, fleeing only when a neighbor arrived on the scene.
Although the beating was severe, Garas
survived.

The attack itself is unsettling,
explains Musselman because "they [extremists] are not just leaving it back home;
they're taking it wherever they find these people that have converted to Christ
from an Islamic background."

This incident shows that the persecution is
not contained within Somalia's borders. For al Shabaab, they're ramping up to an all-out war meant to eradicate
Christianity. 

Shortly before a deadly suicide
bombing attack on August 24, an al Shabaab spokesman was quoted as saying:
"The operation is meant to eliminate the invading Christians and their
apostate government in Somalia. The fighting will continue and, God willing,
the mujahideen will prevail."

Somali Christians living in
Ethiopia have come under increased attacks from Somali Muslims in recent
months. That's a trend that is likely
to continue. Musselman says, "When you
understand a little bit of the group like al Shabaab…you're not surprised that
they will go to any length. They're thinking
is that ‘the only kind of a Somali Christian is a dead one.'"

International Christian Concern
notes that a Somali pastor in the Ethiopian capital has described this latest
attack as "an apparent attempt to scar the Somali Christian community in
Addis Ababa who considers Ethiopia a safe haven from religious
persecution."

Musselman notes that prayer is a
powerful recourse. "Lord, our brothers
and sisters in Somalia are such a small group. They're trying to be faithful. There are other Somalis that have left the
country; they're trying to be faithful, and they continue to suffer attacks, and
it's difficult for them. But we ask You, Lord, to move on the hearts even of
the enemies that are persecuting these believers, that they would have the
freedom to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ."

Ask God to heal Garas.
Pray that his attackers will be brought to justice. Pray that he and other
Somali believers facing persecution in Ethiopia will continue to trust in the
Lord to guide and embolden them as they serve Him.

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About Ethiopia

  • Primary Language: Amharic
  • Primary Religion: Christianity
  • Evangelical: 19.6%
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L5M 2C1

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