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William Stark, Regional Manager for Africa RM-AfricaAsia@persecution.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Christian Convert Captured and Tortured by Al-Shabaab in Somalia
Missing Man Likely Dead
4/18/2013 Washington D.C.
International Christian Concern
International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that al-Shabaab, an al-Qaeda-linked terrorist network in Somalia, has captured and tortured a Christian convert. Missing for several weeks, Hassan Gulled, age 25, is thought to be held at an al-Shabaab base in Bulo Marer, Somalia.
On March 23, Gulled was seized by four al-Shabaab militants who had been monitoring him for several weeks. "Four masked, armed militia from al-Shabaab took Gulled into a Land Cruiser and then drove away as family watched him helplessly," a source told Morning Star News.
On February 27, Gulled traveled to Somalia to visit family sources told Morning Star News. Gulled is one of many Somali refugees to risk traveling back to Somalia since a new government has been established after a series of victories by the African Union over al-Shabaab.
Gulled fled Somalia in 2007 to establish a new life in Kenya. In 2010, Gulled became a Christian, making him an ideal target for Islamic extremists in East Africa.
Al-Shabaab militants in Kenya who knew of Gulled's conversion contacted al-Shabaab members in Somalia and informed them of Gulled's new religious identity. According to Morning Star News' sources, those militants then monitored Gulled for three weeks before seizing him.
"Al-Shabaab [has] been torturing him to see whether he [will] deny his Christian faith," a source told Morning Star News. "Since last week, no information has surfaced concerning Gulled. There is a possibility that he could have been killed."
According to al-Shabaab, all Somalis are born Muslims by default. Somalis found practicing another religion, are considered guilty of apostasy. In Islamic Sharia, apostasy occurs when a Muslim leaves Islam for another faith. According to strict interpretations of Sharia, people guilty of apostasy should be put to death. Al-Shabaab adheres to such a strict interpretation, which is why they deal with apostates so harshly.
Gulled is the fourth Christian known to be attacked by al-Shabaab in Somalia in the past five months. On February 18, Ahmed Ali Jimale was shot by al-Shabaab militants while standing outside his house in Alanley village. On December 8, Mursal Isse Said was also shot outside his house by militants in Beledweyne. On November 16, Farhan Haji Mosa was beheaded by al-Shabaab militants in Barawa after it was discovered that he had converted to Christianity.
ICC's Regional Manager for Africa, William Stark, said, "Al-Shabaab is an Islamic extremist group that has vowed to make Somalia 'purely Islamic.' The group adheres to an extremely harsh interpretation of Sharia that includes the beheading of converts from Islam and the removal of hands from thieves. The group continues to terrorize Christians in both Somalia and neighboring countries. As more Somalis return to Somalia following the establishment of the new government, steps must be taken to protect religious minorities. More must be done to protect the small and extremely vulnerable population of Christians in Somalia. The practice of kidnapping, torturing and killing converts from Islam must be addressed by the international community and should have no place in modern society."
For interviews, contact William Stark, Regional Manager for Africa: RM-AfricaAsia@persecution.org
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