Somalis face intense persecutions with rushed public beheadings, says watchdog

(Reuters/Feisal Omar)Islamist extremist group al-Shabaab is causing terror among Somali Christians.

Somalis continue to face extreme levels of persecutions with rushed public beheadings taking place without fair trial, according to an international persecution watchdog group.

Yonas Dembele, International Law analyst for the World Watch Research Unit at Open Doors International, confirmed in an interview with The Christian Post that citizens are being persecuted even for the mere suspicion of converting to Christianity from Islam. The atrocities, which include public beheadings, are perpetrated by Islamic radical groups led by the al-Shabaab.

"Converts to Christianity in the country have been facing massive problems and their killing is very common. Unlike in North Korea, on their discovery they would not last a day in a trial or ever get the chance to be sentenced to a labor camp," said Dembele, who compared the two countries that topped the most recent World Watch List.

Dembele further explained that the persecutions have caused intense fear among the Christian Somalis who can no longer raise their children in the faith. Moreover, fear has also enveloped the local Christians who are even wary of celebrating Christian holidays. "In a nutshell, to survive in the country Christians must pretend not to be Christians," he added.

Furthermore, he also shared an account of one of the Somalis who converted to Christianity but was eventually forced to flee the country for fear of his life. The analyst shared that the Somali was heavily persecuted by his own family, except for his mother, and that he felt he could no longer worship in a regular church in his new home since non-Somali Christians have already developed a notion that Somalis are out to strike terror among them.

Aid to the Church in Need, another international watchdog, released last year their study titled "Religious Freedom in the World" that featured case studies of various nations and the religious challenges and discriminations people are facing. The study revealed that apart from Iraq, Syria, and five others, Somalia was part of the group of countries where Christians faced extreme levels of persecution.

When it comes to international response to the escalating problem, Dembele said that there were efforts from different groups led by the United Nations and the African Union. He, however, stressed that the country's lack of resources resulted to Somalia being neglected in the international community, saying, "It simply doesn't have as much to offer as the richer countries in the Middle East."

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