According to reports, Guled Jama Muktar, a 17-year-old Christian, was violently murdered last month by Islamic radicals. Members of al Shabbab, an extremist group, purportedly beheaded the teenager near Mogadishu, Somalia, in late September.
The al-Qaeda-linked terror group has previously vowed to purge Somalia of Christianity. According to an anonymous source, the terrorists had been monitoring Muktar's family since they arrived in the unstable nation from Kenya back in 2008.
Apparently, the militants, who are fighting to take control of the nation's government, learned from observation that the family was Christian. Here's how the Baptist Press recaps the events that unfolded:
Based on talks with the boy's parents and their neighbors, the source said al Shabaab members arrived at Muktar's home at 6 a.m. on Sept. 25 when his parents, whose names are withheld for security reasons, were already at work at their retail space at a market on the outskirts of Mogadishu.
The extremists found Muktar as he was preparing to go to school, the source said.
"The neighbors heard screaming coming from the house, and then it immediately stopped," the source said. "After awhile, they saw a white car leaving the homestead."
Following the incident, neighbors contacted the boy's parents. After returning from the market, they quickly buried their son, then fled; their location is currently unknown.
This isn't the first incident in which Christians have been targeted. Currently, conditions for non-Muslims are less-than-friendly in Somalia. While al-Shabaab wants to impose sharia law, it seems the current government there isn't much more favorable to religious minorities.
Compas Direct News, which highlights instances of persecution against Christians, writes:
With estimates of al Shabaab’s size ranging from 3,000 to 7,000, the insurgents seek to impose a strict version of sharia (Islamic law), but the government in Mogadishu fighting to retain control of the country treats Christians little better than the al Shabaab extremists do. While proclaiming himself a moderate, President Sheikh Sharif Sheik Ahmed has embraced a version of sharia that mandates the death penalty for those who leave Islam.
Al Shabaab was among several splinter groups that emerged after Ethiopian forces removed the Islamic Courts Union, a group of sharia courts, from power in Somalia in 2006. Al Shabaab has been designated a terrorist organization by several western governments.
Open Doors, another group that monitors Christian persecution, publishes the "World Watch List," which ranks nations in terms of how prevalent persecution against Christians is. Currently, Somalia is ranked fifth on this list. Open Doors writes:
It remained very dangerous to be a Christian here in 2010. At least eight Christians were killed and a quarter of all Christians fled the country. The few Christians are heavily persecuted and must practice their faith in secret. The country has been without an effective central government since 1991. Islamist insurgents Al-Shabaab control most of the south, and are effectively trying to wipe out Christianity from the country. There are, however, indications that they are losing popularity.
The situation is certainly grim and the most recent report about Muktar's horrific murder shows that the situation is nowhere near improving.
(H/T: Fox Nation)