Kenyan pastor who ministers to ex-Muslims beaten with clubs, hospitalized

People carry wooden crosses, symbolizing the people killed by gunmen at the Garissa University College, as they arrive for a memorial vigil at the 'Freedom Corner' in Kenya's capital Nairobi, April 7, 2015.
People carry wooden crosses, symbolizing the people killed by gunmen at the Garissa University College, as they arrive for a memorial vigil at the "Freedom Corner" in Kenya's capital Nairobi, April 7, 2015. | (Photo: Reuters/Goran Tomasevic)

A pastor in Kenya who disciples former Muslims in their walks with Christ was beaten unconscious by a group of angry Muslims and hospitalized last week.

Morning Star News reports that a pastor on the outskirts of Garissa near the border of Somalia suffered a broken femur (thighbone) and other injuries last Friday night when he was attacked by a group of men while on his way home from a prayer gathering in Garissa.

The pastor, only referred to by the first name Abdul, claims to have been beaten by men with wooden clubs and essentially left for dead. Although he didn’t recognize his attackers, they are reported as being several Somali Muslims.

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The pastor, who came to Christ about seven years ago, is 30 years old and is a father of three children ages 8, 5 and 3.

According to Morning Star News, an independent nonprofit news organization that covers Christian persecution across the globe, Abdul is the leader of an underground church made up of 30 former Muslims whom he disciples in small groups.

He explained that even though he tried to keep his missionary movements secret, Muslim extremists were still able to find out about his ministry.

The pastor claims one of the attackers told him: “We have been following your movements and your evil plans of changing Muslims to Christianity.”

“Immediately several assailants began hitting me with wooden clubs, and I became unconscious,” the pastor recalled. “I woke up and found myself surrounded by neighbors. I was rescued by the neighbors who found me in a pool of blood.”

Abdul was taken to the hospital in Garissa, the capital city of Garissa County in the eastern part of the country. Since it is near the border of Somalia, the city is predominantly ethnic Somali.

Abdul said that in addition to the pain in his thigh, he has pain in his waist, back and near the ankle of his left leg.

“I’m almost unable to bear the pain. My family is in great fear, and Christians have located us to another place,” he was quoted as saying.  “Our prayer, for now, is to get a safe place for my family. My life and that of my family is at stake.”

While Kenya is ranked 40th on the Open Doors USA’s 2019 World Watch List of countries with the greatest levels of Christian persecution, Somalia is ranked third.

An estimated 99 percent of Somalis are Muslim and the country is home to one of the world’s most brutal Islamic extremist groups: al-Shabaab. Al-Shabaab has carried out a number of deadly attacks against Christians in eastern Kenya.

Al-Shabaab. | Photo: Reuters

In 2015, the terrorist group killed at least 147 people, most of whom were Christians, in an early April massacre at Garissa University. Survivors have said that the militants let some Muslims live but killed those who were Christian.

The group also made headlines in 2014 when it killed 28 Christians riding on a bus in Kenya. A similar bus attack occurred in 2015.

In 2017, the group was reported to have killed seven Christians when it went door-to-door in Kenya checking the identification of residents.

Last February, al-Shabaab killed three Christians during a raid on a primary school about 100 miles from Kenya’s border with Somalia.

Last September, al-Shabaab executed two Christians riding on a bus headed to Garissa. As they did in previous attacks, the group forced bus passengers to show their identity cards to prove whether or not they had a Muslim or Christian name.

“Al-Shabab regards Christians with a Muslim background as high-value targets,” an Open Doors factsheet explains. “Believers who left Islam to follow Jesus are often killed on the spot when discovered. Al-Shabab has continuously expressed its desire to eradicate Christians from the country.”

In Kenya, Open Doors explains, those who convert to Christianity face a “constant threat” of attack from their closest relatives as al-Shabaab has “infiltrated some locales to spy on Christians.”

Follow Samuel Smith on Twitter: @IamSamSmith

or Facebook: SamuelSmithCP

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