Somalia tries to broker peace with insurgents

By March 16, 2009

Somalia (MNN) — Somalia's
President is gambling that a move toward Sharia law will end an insurgency by
Islamic extremists. 

On March 12, the transitional Parliament of Somalia gathered in Mogadishu for their first meeting. Among other things, they will be looking at and passing the deal approved by the cabinet earlier in the week.  

For Christians and other
religious minorities, however, the rise of this militant Islamic power with
alleged links to al-Qaeda is a matter of grave concern.

Islamic militias often begin by enforcing
Islamic dress codes and practices upon the citizens. There have also been reports that
children of Somali Christian refugees living in Kenya were kidnapped by Muslim
relatives and taken to Islamic institutions in Somalia for
"rehabilitation."

According to Voice of the Martyrs
Canada, Somalia is almost exclusively Sunni Muslim, with 0.05 percent of the
population Christian. As a result of
clan rivalries, the enforcement of Islamic law varies from area to area.

The persecution of Christians is
severe in most regions of Somalia, and many have fled to neighbouring countries.

It is against this backdrop that Words
of Hope
broadcasts the Gospel into Somalia. When Lee DeYoung with Words of Hope spoke with a ministry partner about the
implementation of Sharia Law, his response was surprising: "With all of the anarchy and chaos, the efforts of
the government to impose some kind
of  law–even if it's one that is
relatively antagonistic toward Christianity–would still bring about a certain
kind of stability that would actually be an improvement."

DeYoung hopes the relative calm that
could result from the extremists laying down arms will allow a war-weary people
to hear a message of peace. "Pray
that even as more Somali hearts in the midst of their great suffering are
searching for spiritual truth, that those who have found Jesus Christ or will
find Him in the future, would benefit from our prayers. Pray that they might be
given discernment and know how best to be witnesses and to practice their
faith."

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