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.
In the Faisalabad District of Pakistan, Muslim families on their way to and from mosque routinely pass by the home of Skeena Bibbi, an elderly Christian woman who hosted weekly prayer meetings in her home until she was forced to flee the area with her family last month.
When some of Bibbi’s Muslim neighbors discovered that she was inviting Christians from around the community to weekly prayer, they incited one another to break in to the woman’s home on July 28th and harass the believers who had gathered for the meeting. The next day, they returned to Bibbi’s home when all of her family members were away at work and she was left alone. Arriving at her door armed with sticks and guns, the Muslim attackers mercilessly beat Bibi – severely injuring her head and arm.
When the Muslims finished beating the elderly woman, they left her and traveled to her son’s workplace. After luring him outside, they beat the young man with rods. His injuries to his head and ribs can be seen in the picture at right.
When the family attempted to submit a complaint to the police, their Muslim neighbors intervened and forcefully told the family to make peace with their attackers. In Pakistan, it is very common for Christian victims to be forced into accepting reconciliation when they decide to take their case to the police.
Bibbi and her family have now abandoned their home and fled their community due to continued pressure from their Muslim neighbors and fear of another attack. Please keep this family in your prayers.
Two years after Hindu radicals slaughtered more than 100 Christians, believers in Orissa still continue to pay the ultimate price for their faith in Christ. Let me share with you the price that a three-day-old girl paid in Orissa.
Sonadei is a Christian mother who lives in Bendaguda village, Orissa. Her 18-month-old daughter became sick and died on October 27, 2010. The next day, the mourning family and the Christians in their village took the body of the girl to the funeral. Before they could bury her, Hindu radicals surrounded the procession and began to beat the believers. The radicals said that the Christian child could not be buried in India because India belongs to Hindus.
Several Christians were injured during the attack, including Sonadei, who was eight months pregnant at the time of the assault. Though she began to bleed profusely, Sonadei and other believers were forced to flee and go into hiding, still carrying the decomposing body of her 18-month-old daughter.
When they finally arrived safely at another village, Sonadei was able to get medical care. She gave birth to a baby girl on November 4. Sadly, her infant daughter only lived for three days due to head injuries she sustained in her mother’s womb during the attack.
Though only the Father can truly touch and heal Sonadei’s heart, we were blessed to be able to cover her medical costs while she recovered in the hospital.
To learn more, please read our press release.