Walking from Eastleigh to his home in another district of Nairobi, Kenya, 25-year-old Hasan was being followed. Hasan had made the mistake of mentioning his Christian faith over his cell phone to a friend while shopping in the crowded Eastleigh marketplace. For Kenyans in Nairobi, this would not be a problem, but Hasan is not Kenyan, he’s Somali.
In Eastleigh, where the Somali terrorist group, Al-Shabaab and its sympathizers are known to be active, it is assumed that a Somali Christian is a convert from Islam – an apostate – and should thereby be punished in accordance with Islamic Sharia law. Execution by beheading is one form of punishment that is often carried out against Christian converts in Somalia.
Christianity, however, was all that Hasan had ever known. The son of an evangelist in southern Somalia, Hasan had been raised a Christian from an early age. He and his family had fled Somalia ten years earlier when his father was brutally murdered for his Christian faith. Little did the family know that the persecution they faced in Somalia would follow them to Kenya.
Nearing his house with the supplies his mother had asked him to purchase, Hasan was attacked by six Somali Muslims with iron rods and wooden clubs. Hasan remembers little, as he soon lost consciousness. His assailants, thinking he was dead, dropped him off bleeding and naked outside the gate of a Presbyterian church as a ‘warning’ to other Christians. The church guards called his mother and immediately took him to the hospital.
“When I reached the scene of the attack, my son was lying in a pool of blood. The attackers had covered my son all over with dirt,” Hasan’s mother, whose name cannot be disclosed for security reasons, told ICC.
At the hospital, Hasan received a blood transfusion and eventually regained consciousness, but a slow and arduous healing process awaited him.
“Since the time my son was attacked, we have been spending sleepless nights due to the pain that he has been going through,” his mother said. “He risks losing a third tooth, which is adding more pain for him. He also complains of abdominal pains; possibly he might have hurt some of his internal organs. But we are helpless; we have no money for specialized medication for him.”
Hasan filed a report at the police station and was asked to identify his attackers. Two of the Somali men were arrested soon after, but have since been released. While police claim the Somalis had escaped, Hasan thinks that a bribe was paid for their release.
Now, out of prison, the Somali group is looking to finish the job they had started. Hasan has received several phone calls threatening to kill him and other members in his family. “When we find you again, we will not make the mistake of leaving you alive,” Hasan recalled one caller as saying.
Hasan, his mother and five younger siblings have since been in hiding, moving from one house to another to avoid being attacked again.
When ICC visited Hasan a month after the attack, he was still badly bruised, could hardly see out of his right eye which was black, and was missing teeth. ICC is paying for Hasan’s surgery and medication, and is helping the family move into a safe neighborhood and setting up a small business.
A fierce battle is going on in the spiritual realm whether we realize it or not. The devil uses every opportunity to kill and destroy. The world doesn’t understand the spiritual forces that are behind suicide attacks, rape, torture or other forms of persecution, but as believers, we know that our enemy is not flesh and blood.
We know that Muslims are not our enemies — they are simply men and women who have been deceived by the devil. To varying degrees, they have given themselves over to be tools in his hands. We also know that Satan’s primary goal is to take as many people as he can with him to hell. That is why the Church of Jesus suffers persecution. The church is here to save; the devil is here to destroy.
A recent letter by members of a radical Islamic group in Somalia epitomizes this battle. In the letter, members of Al-Shabaab warned church leaders to stop preaching the gospel to Muslims. Al-Shabaab, who has publicly announced its intention to rid Somalia of Christians and is responsible for killing many Christian converts from Islam, is now threatening to target Christians who preach the gospel among Somali Muslims living in Kenya. As you read the excerpt from the letter, please pray for protection for the targeted Christians. Also pray for God to bring the persecutors into His kingdom.
Here is the excerpt from the letter:
We would like also to send a message to the mission organizations and the local Kenyan Christian Churches to stop the Christianization they have not only in Nairobi, but also in the refugee camps.
They have to stop their harmful ideologies that they are preaching to the Muslims. It is our knowledge that some Somali Muslims are already affected by this cancer of Christianity and we are in trace of that persons and we call them back to Islam or they will be under the sword of the mujahedeen.
In addition to that, there are those who translate, distribute, and preach this non-sense to the Somalis. We have now the knowledge of so many people involved in this cursed work, but we target these men and will, Insha Allah, be brought before justice and be taken back to Somalia to be tried and given their share of justice before the law of Allah and before the Mujahedeen.
We will soon, Insha Allah, strike the cursed Seventh-day Adventist Church’s headquarters if they do not stop using the Somalis to Christianize other Somalis, not excluding [those] who put Somali translated Bibles in their sites and who are proud to Christianize the Somali people. In closing, we ask Allah to help us to make his purpose reign.