Militant leader emerges in Somalia.

By June 29, 2006

Somalia (MNN)–An Islamic Courts militia leader with ties to terrorist group Al-Qaeda has emerged in Somalia. Sheik Hassan Dahir Aweys (dahr aways) heads the Council of the Islamic Courts, a newly formed Parliament for the Sharia courts.

Voice of the Martyrs Canada’s Greg Musselman thinks the new regime bodes ill for believers already under fire in the hard-line Muslim country. “The fact that they now have a leadership, a government, in what has been one of the most unruly countries for many years now, the fact that it is even more extreme, there needs to be concern about that because that may even make things worse than it’s already been.”

Although Aweys denies the Al-Qaeda accusation, his connections with the terrorist group and support of their mindset have caused ripples amongst the international community.

The United States has, thus far, ruled out any contact with the new leader of Somalia’s Islamists because he is on a US terrorist list. Ethiopia has also weighed in. Various sources report that Djibouti, Eritrea, Yemen, Egypt and Italy are thought to back other Somali factions, and not the new Sharia enforcements.

So the question becomes one of unity against one of terrorism. As for believers who have already felt the crackdown, it’s the latter.

Pegged at number four on the Open Doors World Watch List, Musselman urges action on behalf of the Somali church. “The number one thing that we can continue to do is to pray for the church in Somalia that the Lord will raise them up in ways, and give us creative ways to get materials, and just to bring practical help–and mostly, encouragement, to let the Somali Christians know that they’re not forgotten.”

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