Terrorist group al-Shabaab threatens education and Christianity in Northern Kenya

By April 15, 2020

Kenya (MNN) — Radical Islamic threats are draining the brain (and the Christianity) from the northern part of Kenya bordering Somalia.

Al-Shabaab has been incurring into North Eastern Kenya out of Somalia for the last few months. These counties have a high Somali population. Bruce Allen of FMI says, “There have been attacks specifically against Christians, specifically against Christian teachers . . . They’re saying if you can recite The Shahada, the Islamic profession of faith, we let you go. If you can’t, we kill you. And in the last few months, more than 30 teachers have been killed in those counties.”

Read about the past atrocities committed by al-Shabaab here.

The response, Allen says, has been for teachers to demand transfers out of these counties. The Kenyan government places teachers, but many have now essentially gone on strike, saying, as Allen summarizes, “We can’t serve here. We are targeted for death. If we do, it puts us, our families, our students at risk.”

Somali business in Kenya. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Education and faith vacuum

The departure of these teachers is creating a vacuum for good education and for Christianity. At the moment, Allen says, COVID-19 has closed all the schools. “So perhaps in the weeks that the schools [are] closed, the government’s going to be able to come up with an appropriate response to the teacher demands: either for protection and safety or for transfer.”

But the closure also means the students are missing lessons and may not have teachers when they return.

And these attacks affect Christianity in the region as well. Many of the threatened teachers are Christians, and their departure means students will no longer be taught a biblical worldview founded on Christ.

Map of Kenya. The three provinces mainly under terrorist threat can be seen on the right. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

FMI’s response

Because of this, FMI believes the time is ripe to plant churches in this part of the country. Allen relates the words of an FMI partner in Kenya: “[The] average age in Kenya is really young. He says we can capture the attention of the Kenyan youth if we can present in relevant ways the Gospel message. He said that will be a big boon for Christian ministry in that area.”

The people in Kenya from Somalia overwhelmingly practice Islam, Allen says. Al-Shabaab is trying to keep them in slavery and ignorance, but Christians want to bring education and the good news of Jesus.

Pray that the FMI leadership in Kenya would have the strength and wisdom to plant churches and minister to the people of North Eastern Kenya.

Allen says ethnic Somalis are poised to become the most populous ethnic group in Kenya and that the time to reach them with the good news of the historic Christian faith is now.

You can help support this work by going to forgottenmissionaries.org.

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