Christian women in Somalia face unthinkable hardships; abuse and exile, as they seek out a place where they would be able to worship, raise their families and live their lives in peace.
However, with Christian minorities in Somalia under constant pressure from the country’s Muslim majority, just thinking about practicing their faith could cause them serious bodily harm.
Refugees are fleeing Somalia because of war and religious persecution and many are finding new lives in the neighboring country of Kenya.
Jeff Sellers, of the National Review, recently visited camps in Nairobi, Kenya’s largest city and was shocked and appalled by the stories that he was hearing.
He spoke with Amina, a 28-year-old refugee from Mogadishu, when she converted to Christianity her husband divorced her, and then he kicked her and their 4-year-old son out of the house.
Then there was Shukri, her husband, Sellers explained, was killed by Islamic extremists from al Shabaab whose rebels were fighting the transitional government in Somalia. She then had her two children taken by her husband’s mother so that the youths would not be raised Christian.
There was also Sahra, who wears a full-body burqa in her neighborhood in Nairobi to keep from being recognized and abused.
Sahra’s husband was killed while fighting rebels in Mogadishu. Her relatives cut her off because of her Christian faith.
“When they see you are low-income and have left your religion they see you as sick in the head,” said Sahra to Sellers.
There was also an older Somali woman who almost lost her son when her Muslim neighbors suspected they were Christian.
For Sellers, after sitting and talking with these women, he formed a new understanding of the devotion it takes to live a life through Christ.
“In their world, there is much shame associated with their status as refugees in a bleak economy and as Christians in a Muslim fishbowl,” said Sellers.