Two masked gunman shot a Christian convert from Islam in Somalia. After failing to attend prayers at the local mosque, militants began to suspect the Christian man of conversion. In Somalia, the extremist group al-Shabaab enforces a brutally strict version of Islamic law that calls for punishments such as stoning, cutting off hands and beheading. Individuals who are caught converting from Islam to Christianity are often executed by the group.
12/20/2012 Somalia (MorningStarNews) – Gunmen in central Somalia on Saturday, Dec. 8, killed an underground Christians who had been receiving death threats for leaving Islam, area sources said.
Two unidentified masked men shot Mursal Isse Siad, 55, outside his home in Beledweyne, 206 miles (332 kilometers) north of Mogadishu, for leaving Islam, Muslim and Christian sources told Morning Star News. The assailants fled immediately after the murder.
Siad’s oldest daughter (name withheld), 15, said her father was killed “because he failed to attend the mosque for prayers and used to pray at home. He used to share with us about Jesus.” She said that he had received messages on his mobile phone stating, “We know what you are doing, and you must stop, otherwise you risk your life.”
Siad’s 42-year-old wife (name withheld), three daughters and two sons have fled the area, fearing for their lives.
A Christian source in Mogadishu confirmed the killing, and a Muslim resident of the Beledweyne area also said Siad was killed for leaving Islam.
“Siad deserved to die because he was not committed to the Islamic religion,” the resident said.
Siad and his wife, who converted to Christianity in 2000 according to a source who used to worship with them, had moved to Beledweyne from Doolow eight months ago, after Somalia’s transitional federal government and African Union Mission in Somalia troops captured Beledweyne from Al Shabaab rebels. Siad had taken a job with a local Non-Governmental Organization.
“Since we arrived from Doolow, my parents have not been attending the worship at the mosque, but they have been allowing us to worship at the nearby mosque,” his daughter said.
As the gunmen were masked, she was unable to say whether the assailants were local.