by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) – A Somali pastor sustained severe injuries when his Somali father-in-law violently assaulted him last month for refusing to return to Islam, Morning Star News (MSN) reports. Somalis believe they are born Muslim, and anyone who leaves Islam can be charged with apostasy and sentenced to death.
Following his conversion to Christianity, the 33-year-old pastor, who cannot be named for security reasons, moved from Somalia to neighboring Kenya in 2014, MSN reports. He began leading an underground fellowship in Wajir County, northeastern Kenya in 2015. Christianity is legal in Kenya, but the fellowship has met in secret because of fears of attack from Muslim Somali family members.
On August 10, the pastor’s father-in-law found him outside his home, accused him of leading his daughter into a “bad religion,” and demanded that he return to Islam, MSN said. When the pastor refused to renounce Christ, his father-in-law became enraged. “He was furious and took a thorny stick and hit me on my hand and shoulders, and I fell down screaming and wailing, calling for help,” the pastor told MSN, “When they saw neighbors approaching, they left. The pain was too much, and I was rushed to a nearby clinic.”
The beating resulted in a severe infection in one of the pastor’s hands, causing doctors to consider amputation. “All these three weeks while I’ve been sick, they have been pressuring my wife to divorce me and return to Islam,” the pastor told MSN. “But my wife has stood with me. We really need prayers so that God will miraculously heal me and get me out of the hospital.”
Somalia ranks three on the US Open Doors World Watch List 2022 of top 50 countries where Christians are persecuted. “All Christians who have converted from Islam are in grave danger in Somalia—from their family, their community and society at large,” Open Doors said in a website statement.