Sunday, 29 September 2013

Evangelical Mission only answer to al-Shabaab violence

The following article is taken from, the full article can be read here from its original source. In the light of recent events, the urgence of finding a lasting and effective solution to the ever growing threat of Islamic extremism becomes ever more important. As human methods seem to provide no solution, the answer becomes more and more clear- the only real way to deal with Islamic extremism, the only real way to stop terrorism, is to preach the Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Who is the True Prince of Peace. Please pray for Somalia, for the persecuted Christians in this land, for all the long suffering peoples of this nation, and please pray for the conversion of al-Shabaab and all other Islamic extremists.-RCMS 

Somali Christians in Mogadishu

"Evangelical Mission only answer to al-Shabaab violence:

by Simone Cantarini

Bishop Giorgio Bertin talks about the Church's witness in the land where al-Qaeda's most violent terrorists are born. For the prelate, "bearing witness to the Gospel means giving oneself to God's initiative, participating with Christians in the hopes and the suffering of the whole population."

Rome ( AsiaNews) - "From Somalia to Iraq, including Egypt and Syria, Christians are often persecuted and flee. Many consider them as something alien from the Muslim majority. Several extremist religious leaders try to hinder their presence and existence in these countries, which are often the only opposition to the hatred and violence imposed by the ideologies of Islamic extremists," said Mgr Giorgio Bertin, bishop of Djibouti and apostolic administrator of Mogadishu. For years, the bishop has cared for the small Catholic communities in the two countries, who live in an environment dominated by Islamic extremism, anarchy and terrorist violence.
"In Somalia," he said, "the population is victim of the chaos and cruelty caused by Islamic courts and the al-Shabaab movement, which exports terrorists all over the world."

On Saturday, the terrorist group fighting to establish an Islamic state in the Horn of Africa attacked the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi ( Kenya), taking hundreds of hostages for three days. The assault by at least 20 terrorists ended with over 60 people dead and hundreds injured.

"From Somalia to Iraq, Christians are often considered something alien from the Muslim majority and experience strong social pressure because of their presence," Mgr Bertin noted.

"We fear," he explained, "fanatical groups that pursue a religious ideology that does not represent the thoughts and ideas of the majority of the population. Somalia is an example of how some areas of the Middle East could become in the event of a collapse of the government. If central authorities do not exert their power, they [the al-Shabaab] are free to do whatever they want justify their belligerence by pointing to the Christian presence."

For the prelate, people usually wonder what is the sense of the mission in these countries, where Christians risk their life, places like "Somalia where there are less than 100 Christians" or "Djibouti, which has about 5,000."

"In the West, people are often amazed by these places' numbers: no priests, less than 100 Christians, inability to convert to Christianity. Such figures apparently discourage the Church's mission. However, bearing witness to the Gospel in countries like Somalia means giving oneself to God's initiative, participating with Christians in the hopes and the suffering of the whole population."

"The mission is addressed primarily to Muslims who thanks to the Christian presence often find a new way of life, one that responds with love to the hatred and violence imposed by the ideologies of Islamic extremists," Mgr. Bertin noted.

"Unfortunately," he said, "this approach cannot be measured. Only with faith and hope can we measure the meaning of our presence."

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Persecution update: Christian mother killed; boy kidnapped

Oh Sorrowful Mother, standing at the foot of the Cross of thy Divine Son, pray for thy Somali children and all persecuted Christians!

Your prayers are urgently requested for the Christian mother who was killed on September the 1st, as well as for her husband and son who are still alive but in hiding. Please pray too for the boy who has been kidnapped and for his family. Again, Al-Shabaab is suspected to be behind this fresh spate of persecution. The group has vowed to rid Somalia of all Christians and traces of Christianity. Please offer up Masses, Holy Communions, Rosaries and other prayers for these families, as well as for all the heavily persecuted Christians of Somalia. The following article is taken from Christianity Today, and can be read in full at the original site here.-RCMS

"Islamic extremists from the Al-Shabaab rebel group are suspected of killing a Christian woman in one town last week and kidnaping a 13-year-old boy from another, sources said.

According to a story by Morning Star News, the militants, who have vowed to rid Somalia of its underground church, are suspected of killing Fatuma Isak Elmi, 35, on Sept. 1 at about 7:30pm. inside her home in Beledweyne, Hiran Province in south-central Somalia.

Her husband had received a threatening note that morning believed to be from the Islamic extremist group and was away at the time of the murder.

Neighbors were alerted to the killing when they heard Elmi's 4-year-old son crying.

"The neighbors heard a child crying for quite some time," a source told Morning Star News. "After one hour, a close neighbor visited the house and found the child outside still crying." The neighbor, whose identity is withheld for security reasons, told the source that upon entering the house she found Elmi dead.

Elmi's husband, 36-year-old Mumin Omar Abdi, learned of her death when he arrived home at about 10pm. He said he had found a note early that morning that read, "We shall come for you. You are friends with our enemies (Westerners, assumed to be Christians), and you are polluting our religion."

Abdi has fled the area with his son to an undisclosed location, the source said.


In the southern Somali town of Qoryoley in the Lower Shebelle Region, two witnesses told Morning Star News they saw armed, masked men from Al-Shabaab kidnap a 13-year-old boy on Sept. 3 as he approached his home on his way back from school.

Mustaf Hassan was kidnapped near Marka District at about 4 p.m., the sources said. He had been staying with a Muslim relative there since last year, when his parents fled the area after they were suspected of being Christians, another source told Morning Star News.

Another source told Morning Star News that the boy's parents, Hassan Mohammed and Farhio Omar, were in great pain and grief upon learning of the kidnapping. "Our son might be killed, and we are also not safe," Mohammed said.

No ransom has been sought, and Christians suspected the rebels may have abducted Mustaf in an effort to find his parents or other Christians.

Mustaf is the nephew of Fartun Omar, shot to death by Al-Shabaab on April 13 in Buulodbarde, 12 miles from Beledweyne.

Morning Star News reported that Omar was the widow of Ahmed Ali Jimale, a 42-year-old father of four, who was killed on Feb. 18 as he stood outside his house in Alanley village on the outskirts of Kismayo..."

"The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church"- Tertullian

Monday, 9 September 2013

"I hope in authentic dialogue with regards to the need for everybody to get out of the crisis in Somalia"

The following article is taken from FIDES News Agency. To read the artilce from its original source, click here.

"Mogadishu (Agenzia Fides) - "Opponents, Shabaab or others, have targeted government and foreign organization representatives and their staff. This is because they want to destabilize the Somali institutions in the reconstruction phase. The new federal government is already destabilized by internal disputes on federalism and other issues" says to Fides Agency His Exc. Mgr. Giorgio Bertin, Bishop of Djibouti and Apostolic Administrator of Mogadishu, in the aftermath of the failed attack against Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud.

The latter escaped unhurt, on September 3, from an ambush by a commando of Shabaab along the road to Merka, a city that is one hundred kilometers south-west of Mogadishu.

"All this is part of the Somali spirit, which prevails in the pursuit of individual or clan interest" continues Mgr. Bertin. "It is a difficult situation for anyone, starting from the Somalis, including neighboring Countries that take advantage of personal, clan and regional ambitions of the Somalis to promote their interests in the Country".

The Bishop emphasizes, however, that "the situation is not desperate and we must not abandon Somalia. I add, however, that, at least at an international community level, it is necessary to be more compact. In particular, regional powers, especially Kenya and Ethiopia, I hope convince themselves that it is important to have a strong Somali State instead of the current chaotic situation".
"Authentic dialogue is needed in which everyone takes into consideration the interests of all in order to find a comprehensive solution to everyone’s needs", concluded Bishop Bertin. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 04/09/2013)"

Pray for Somalia.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Urgent prayers needed for the women and children of Somalia

The following article is taken from Fides News Agency, and it highlights the plight of Somali women and children, especially those living in refugee camps. As if all the suffering they already have to go through (war, famine, crippling poverty etc.) was not enough, Somali women, including young girls, are in danger of being sexually abused. This horrible crime seems to be particularly prevalent at the moment, as the article below will make clear. Please offer fervent prayers for the people of Somalia, and particularly for the protection and safety of Somali women and children. Pray too that the teaching of Christ and His Church may permeate Somalia, teaching a reverence and respect for women and a hatred of sin. To read the article from its original source click here.

"Mogadishu (Agenzia Fides) - More than a million people still live scattered in Somalis refugee camps, among them women and children who live every day at great risk of violence of all kinds. Forced to flee and abandon their homes due to the armed conflict and drought, they are now facing further trauma of living under threats of violence. A statement by the NGO Amnesty International says that many women live in canvas and plastic tents which do not give any kind of security. Some of the victims are young, among them a 14-year-old girl was recently raped in a camp in Mogadishu while she was recovering from a seizure. Few of these abuses and violence are reported to the police, who still do not start legal proceedings against the alleged perpetrators. According to local sources, the inability or lack of willingness on behalf of Somali authorities to investigate these crimes and bring to justice the perpetrators leaves survivors of sexual violence even more isolated, and contributes to a climate of impunity. According to the Organization of the United Nations, at least 1,700 cases of violence in refugee camps in Somalia were recorded in 2012, of which at least 70% committed by armed men dressed in Government uniforms. (AP) (Agenzia Fides 02/09/2013)"

In more positive news, FAO Somalia ( Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) reports that despite the persistence of acute malnutrition in Somalia, the numbers of Somalis in 'extreme food crisis' has dropped from 4 million in 2011, to 870 000 today, thanks be to God! Various factors, including more than average rainfall and sustained humanitarian efforts have contributed to the decrease in the numbers of those in 'extreme food crisis'. However, more than 2 million Somalis, a third of the population, remain in a 'fragile food security' situation. Pray for an end to hunger and famine in Somalia, and pray that humanitarian efforts may continue unhindered to help the people of Somalia. But pray especially for an end to conflict and violence so that Somalis can return to the fields and grow the food they so desperately need. Click here to read the FAO Somalia article.