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Islamic Extremists Behead Four Christian Orphanage Workers in Somalia

Washington, D.C. (August 11, 2009) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that Somali Islamic extremists beheaded four Christians after kidnapping them on July 27 in the coastal town of Merca, 56 miles from Mogadishu.

Fatima Sultan, Ali Ma’ow, Sheik Mohammed Abdi, and Maaddey Diil were killed by members of Al-Shabab, an Islamic extremist organization. The Islamists kidnapped and eventually beheaded the Christians after they refused to renounce their faith in Jesus Christ.

On August 4, a junior Al-Shabab militant notified all the families of the victims that the four Christians had been beheaded for apostasy. He described the Christians as promoters of “fitna,” a Muslim term for religious discord. The militant, who called himself “Seiful Islam” (“the Sword of Islam”), told the families that the bodies will not be given to them “as Somalia does not have cemeteries for infidels.”

One eye witness account said, “All the four apostates were given an opportunity to return to Islam to be released but they all declined the generous offer.”

The four Christians had been working for a local NGO that helps orphans in southern Somalia .

A Somali church leader who monitors the persecution against the Somali church described the latest beheadings as a desperate attempt to “purify” Somalia by eliminating all Christians from what the Al Qaeda linked terror group considers an Islamic Republic. The church leader added that such murders will only serve as a rich seedbed from where many more house-churches will form.

Al-Shabab is a radical Islamic organization fighting to establish an Islamic state in Somalia and enforce Wahhabi/Salafi Islam, an ultra-conservative interpretation of Islam practiced by the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. The Islamist group controls large parts of Somalia and seeks to overthrow the internationally recognized transitional federal government of Somalia .

The Islamists have been carrying out ruthless attacks against the Christian minority in Somalia . Last year alone, members of the group killed more than a half dozen Somali Christians. In July 2009, Al-Shabab beheaded seven people in the southwestern town of Baidoa after accusing them of converting to Christianity and spying for the transitional federal government of Somalia .

Jonathan Racho, ICC’s Regional Manager for Africa and the Middle East , said, “Al-Shabab has once again demonstrated its utter disregard for the dignity of human life. The majority of Muslims in Somalia , who are also the victims of Al-Shabab’s cruelty, do not support their ideology or practices. It is high time for the international community to take robust measures to end the heinous crimes that Al-Shabab and other extremist groups are committing against the people of Somalia .”

Please pray for God to protect and encourage the underground churches in Somalia .