Al-Shabaab peace offer threatens Christian minority
Rival militant terrorist groups have been fighting for control in Somalia for many years now. The al-Qaeda affiliated group known as al-Shabaab is a dominant force, confronting the Somalian government.
Somalia is one of the worst places in the world to be a Christian, with widespread human rights abuses across the country. Christians are specifically targeted with being executed, sometimes by beheading, simply for being suspected of being a Christian.
The United States offered military support to stabilize the country. In July, al-Shabaab issued a proposal to them, with the purpose of negotiating a withdrawal similar to the peace agreement that was made with the Afghan Taliban in 2020.
The proposition intends to give the militant terrorist group full control over Somalia. This would make life for Christians extremely dangerous, since al-Shabaab made it clear that they planned to totally eradicate Christianity from the region. While there is no evidence that the U.S. is ready to take this proposal on board, the circumstances raise further distress for Christians who already fear for their lives. If extremists were to gain control of the country, it would evolve to a deliberate attempted annihilation of the entire Christian minority from Somalia.
Most believers are foreign workers, and they are forced to worship in secret for fear of persecution. Pastor John is a Kenyan building contractor who leads a small group that meets in the home of a local Christian. “We meet secretly in one of our houses and pray. It’s always a normal service, but there’s no shouting and singing loudly…. It’s very dangerous for anyone to identify you as a Christian in this country. You will, in fact, be counting your days on earth.”
Since there are no church buildings in Somalia, it’s extremely dangerous for Christians to meet for worship. Believers often hide their faith due to the dangerous circumstances: if discovered, they would be executed right away without a trial.