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SOMALIA: DESPERATE PLIGHT OF CHRISTIANS

July 12, 2006

Over the past two years the gunmen who enforced rulings from
Mogadishu\'s various clan-based Islamic courts joined forces and
formed Somalia\'s strongest militia: the Islamic Courts Union (ICU).
In February 2006 warlords controlling Mogadishu, Somalia\'s capital,
joined forces and formed the \'Alliance for the Restoration of Peace
and Anti-Terrorism\' to tackle the ICU whom they accused of
sheltering foreign al-Qaeda militants. In early June Mogadishu fell
to the Islamists after four months of fighting. Some Somalis (and
Western journalists) expressed relief that the reign of the
warlords had ended, that the fighting was over and the ICU was
bringing peace and security to Mogadishu. However, the rise of the
ICU is very bad news for Somalia\'s small Christian remnant. The
situation has gone from dangerous and horrific to totally
desperate. Somali Christians, both inside Somalia and those living
as refugees in neighbouring states, need our prayers - urgently.

Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys (61) has been appointed head of the ICU\'s
90-member Shura Council which will now serve as a \'parliament\' in
all areas the ICU controls. Aweys, who has been designated a
terrorist by the US and the UN, formerly headed al-Itihaad al-
Islamiya, an Islamist militant group accused of having links to al-
Qaeda in the 1990s and of involvement in the 1998 US Embassy
bombings in Tanzania and Kenya. Stratfor Intelligence says the ICU
is not a coherent group in terms of ideology or structure and is
playing the Islamist card to consolidate its hold on power.
Associated Press has obtained a one-hour video made by the ICU for
fund-raising and recruitment which shows Somalis training and
fighting alongside Arab militants. The audio contains Arabic
anthems and poetry urging Muslims to join the global holy war to
advance Islam and defeat its enemies.

The ICU has vowed to enact Sharia Law throughout the country. Aweys
says Sharia Law is the solution to all Somalia\'s problems and has
vowed, \'He who does not perform prayer will be considered as
infidel and our Sharia Law orders that person to be killed. The
Sharia Law orders the killing of any Muslim person when he fails to
perform prayer.\' He added that implementing Islamic Sharia Law in
Somalia is obligatory on every citizen. (Shabelle Media Network,
Mogadishu, 5 July). Sources report that three Christian men were
killed in Mogadishu recently by automatic gunfire as they returned
home from a prayer meeting.

Recently some children of Somali Christian refugees in Kenya have
been kidnapped by Muslim relatives and taken to Islamic
institutions in Somalia for \'rehabilitation\'. Kenyan police and the
Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) are working to
address the issue. It\'s hard to imagine how the situation could
improve in Somalia, wracked with violence and crippled by it. The
only place to go is to the living God who in the beginning, by his
word alone, made beauty and order from darkness and chaos.

PLEASE PRAY SPECIFICALLY FOR:

* God to speed the rescue of the children who have been kidnapped
from their Christian Somali refugee parents. \'. . . darkness was
over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering
over the face of the waters.\' (Genesis 1:2 ESV)

* the Holy Spirit to mercifully save many Somali people, bringing
them to Christ through dreams, visions, gospel radio,
Somali-language Christian literature and the personal witness of
believers. \'And God said, "let there be light", and there was
light.\' (Genesis 1:3)

* God to sow discord amongst those bringing further repression and
violence in Somalia, so their foundations shatter and their
alliances fail, making room for God\'s chosen servants to do his
will. \'And God said, "Let there be an expanse in the midst of the
waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters."\'
(Genesis 1:6) \'And God said, . . .let the dry land appear". And
it was so.\' (1:9)

* God to raise up wise, strong leaders for Somalia in law,
medicine, agriculture, education, government, peace-making and
every other field, especially in the Church. \'And God said, "Let
the earth sprout. . ." And it was so.\' (Genesis 1:11)

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SUMMARY TO USE IN BULLETINS UNABLE TO RUN THE WHOLE ARTICLE:
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DESPERATE SITUATION IN SOMALIA

In early June, Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, fell to an
alliance of Islamic militias after they had fought for four months
against an alliance of warlords. The \'Islamic Courts Union\' (ICU)
Shura Council will act as a parliament in all areas the ICU
controls. Its head, Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys (61), is designated
as a terrorist by both the US and the UN. Aweys has vowed to enact
Sharia (Islamic) Law across Somalia. He has ruled that Muslims who
miss prayers will be regarded as infidels and killed. Three
Christian men were recently shot dead. Some children of Christian
Somali refugees in Kenya have been kidnapped by Muslim relatives
and taken to Islamic institutions in Somalia for \'rehabilitation\'.
The situation in Somalia is dangerous and desperate. Please pray
for God to intervene there for the sake of his Kingdom and glory.

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The WEA Religious Liberty Commission sponsors this
RL Prayer List to help individuals and groups pray
specifically and regularly for religious liberty
issues, and in particular to uphold the Church
where it is suffering persecution.

RL Prayer is moderated by Ron Clough, a commissioner
of the WEA RLC and convenor of the Australian EA RLC.
Elizabeth Kendal researched and authored this message.