Muslim Gunman Attacks Somali House Church
ICC (January 25, 2007) — The Washington-DC based human rights group, International Christian Concern (ICC) www.www.persecution.org has learned that a Muslim gunman opened fire on a Somali house church where Christians were worshipping on January 2, seriously injuring the church leader.
The worshippers were attacked in the Southern town of Tayeglow, 320 kilometers from the capital, Mogadishu. The leader of the house church, S, was hit by gunfire several times and assumed dead for about an hour before he regained consciousness. He is currently seeking medical care and his status is critical. The gunman is reportedly still threatening other Christians in the surrounding area.
During the last month, Ethiopian troops assisted the provisional Somali government in pushing back the powerful Union of Islamic Courts (UIC) which had taken over and imposed Sharia law in much of Southern Somalia. Ethiopia and Somalia have been engaged in two other wars in the past. For many Somalis, Ethiopia is the enemy, and because most Somalis are Muslim, and Ethiopia is considered Christian, Somalis view Christians as enemies also. In fact, there are gunmen in the country who believe they are fully justified in attacking and killing innocent Christians.
Although the UIC is not currently in power, the combination of fresh anti-Ethiopian sentiment and the last ten years of civil and governmental chaos will likely worsen an already deadly situation for Somali Christians in 2007.
Jeff King, President of ICC, stated, Even though the UIC took a thorough beating from Ethiopian forces, it does not mean they have dissapeared or have no lingering influence. The desire to oppress Christianity existed long before Ethiopia put pressure on Somalia, and this house church attack is a red flag for an increase in violence and persecution for Christian believers in the Horn of Africa.