Somalia votes to implement Sharia law

By March 12, 2009

Somalia (MNN) — Somalia's
cabinet has voted to implement Sharia law throughout their country.

In an attempt to restore some
security and stability, new President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed hopes the move will undermine
the Islamist guerrillas who have waged an insurgency for the last two years.

During 2008, Islamist insurgents regained control of most of
south-central Somalia, except for Mogadishu, from government and Ethiopian
forces. The Transitional Government was on the verge of collapse, and the
Djibouti-based Alliance for the Reliberation of Somalia (ARS) opposition has
negotiated the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops in 2009.

The realization of Sharia law is
a blow against religious freedom. At
number five on the Open Doors World Watch List of the world's worst persecutors
of Christians, Carl Moeller with Open Doors says this is an alarming
development.  "We're very concerned
about the nature of the way that this Sharia law is being forced into Somalia
as a wedge to get a peace deal and for the condition of the Christians

The fighting reportedly led to an
increase in hostility toward Christians.
"Many people will remember the desperately chaotic situation in Somalia in
1993. The truth of the matter is — Somalia
isn't any better today. And Christians continue to be the most vulnerable
segment of that society." 

In fact, Open Doors
says four Christian teachers, two of them converts from Islam, were murdered by
Islamic militants in south-central Somalia. In 2008, their team received
reports of at least ten Christians being killed for their faith and several
others kidnapped and raped.

Somalia has no constitution or any legal
provision for the protection of religious freedom. Islam is the official
religion, and social pressure is strong to respect Islamic tradition,
especially in certain rural parts of the country. Most regions make use of
local forms of conflict resolution, either secular, traditional clan-based
arbitration, or Islamic (Sharia) law.

However, there
is a remnant church that needs your prayer. Moeller says, "We are providing, through means that I'm
not at liberty to say, some material supplies and spiritual encouragement for
those believers. Some of our people have been able to make contact and to
continue to sustain that contact through the months of insurgency and the
violence that has been there."


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