Convert from Islam to Christianity killed in Somalia

September 17, 2006 at 4:20 pm 4 comments

The above mentioned incident took place last week, long before the BBC news a few hours ago regarding an Italian nun’s death at the hands of some gunmen.


Somali Christian sources report that Ali Mustaf Maka‘il, who converted from Islam to Christianity eleven months ago, was shot and killed in the Manabolyo quarter of Mogadishu on 7 September 2006. Ali (22) was a cloth merchant and college student.

According to the source, the gunman was loyal to the Union of Islamic Courts (ICU), the Islamist organisation that took power in Mogadishu in early June 2006 and now controls much of southern Somalia. The gunman shot Ali in the back after he refused to join a crowd chanting Qur’an verses in honour of the lunar eclipse. (Solar and lunar eclipses are significant in Islam and are accompanied by special congregational prayers.) The ICU confiscated his body for 24 hours before delivering it to the grieving family.

It seems that under the new Islamist rulers, who include hard-line jihadi elements, the tragic history of persecution and martyrdom for Somalia’s tiny Christian community is set to continue and most likely to worsen.

In July 2006 there were unconfirmed reports that three Christians had been shot and killed by Islamists as they returned home from a prayer meeting. In October 2005 an evangelist and house church leader, Osman Sheik Ahmed, was shot dead by Islamist radicals. Children of Christian Somali refugees in Kenya have been kidnapped by Muslim relatives and taken to Islamic institutions in Somalia for “rehabilitation”.

The leader of the ICU, Hassan Dahir Aweys, promised to implement shari‘a in all areas he controls. According to shari‘a, apostates (those who leave Islam for another religion), must be killed. ICU leaders have even threatened to kill as apostates Muslims who are lax in their prayers, claiming this is commanded by shari‘a. Several Muslims have been publicly flogged for drug related offences since the ICU took control.

Over 99.5% of Somalis are Muslims and regard Christianity as a foreign religion of their historic enemies in Ethiopia and of their former colonial masters the Italians and the British. There is a long history of conflict between Muslim Somalis and Christian Ethiopians, so anti-Christian sentiment runs deep. Most Somalis take it for granted that a true Somali is a Muslim and converts to Christianity must be traitors. These prejudices, widely held by Muslim Somalis, seem to used to justify violence against Christians, both indigenous and expatriate. The US-led invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq and the recent Israeli campaign against Hizbullah in Lebanon have fuelled and inflamed the inherent hostility to the West and to Christians.


Entry filed under: Africa, Crime, Culture, Kenya, Literature, Media, Missions, Politics, Religion, Science, Society, World.


4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. A. J.  |  September 18, 2006 at 5:18 am

    Am working on a post on this for my new blog. Could use an email from you on Kenya’s likely role in the brewing conflict. As to this incident: the ICU looks more like the Taliban every day it seems.

    A. J.

  • 2. Kenyan Analyst  |  September 18, 2006 at 5:35 pm

    Mogadishustan, I say.

  • 3. Linda  |  September 19, 2006 at 1:28 am

    Not to be funny or anything but members of the Union of Islamic Courts need an ICU (Intensive Care Unit) treatment. It’s ironic how they share the same initials with this hospital division. These stories keep getting ridiculous everyday….I wonder how much longer i can take them.

  • 4. A. J.  |  September 19, 2006 at 8:48 pm

    BTW Jesse: Hassan Dahir Awes is–whatever others might claim about other ICU leaders–unquestionably and undeniably AQ. He was a higher-up in a terrorist org. called Al Itahaad back in the 1990s and was apparently chummy with OBL.
    The question in my mind is not whether key AQ terrorists will be moving into ICU-occupied parts of Somalia from the Afghan-Pak border (or nearer: Sudan and Yemmen). My question is: how do they think they’re going to get there?
    Another sobering note: Somalia has Indian Ocean coastline does it not? Wonder if there will be cross-polenation between Laskar Jihad in Indonesia–and other terrorists with access to the Indian Ocean–and the ICU?


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