Somali Convert from Islam Whipped in Public
Jan 12 2012 “For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him[Christ], and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.” Colossians 1:19-20
A Somali convert from Islam was paraded before a jeering crowd last month and publicly flogged as a punishment for embracing a “foreign religion,” Compass Direct News sources said. She was left bleeding in front of hundreds of spectators for becoming Christian.
Sofia Osman, a 28-year-old Christian from Janale city in Somalia’s Lower Shabelle region about 124 miles from Mogadishu, had been taken into custody by Islamic extremist al Shabaab militants in November; the public whipping was meant to mark her release. She received 40 lashes on December 22 while spectators looked on.
“Osman was whipped 40 lashes at 3 p.m., but she didn’t tell what other humiliations she had suffered while in the hands of the militants,” an eyewitness told Compass, adding that the whipping left her bleeding. “I saw her faint. I thought she had died, but soon she regained consciousness and her family took her away.”
The whipping was administered in front of hundreds of spectators after Osman was released from her month-long internment in al Shabaab camps. Recovering from her injuries at her family’s home in the days after the punishment, she would not talk to anyone and looked dazed, a source close to the family said. She has since been relocated. “Please pray for her quick recovery,” the source said.
Osman became a Christian four years ago and was a member of the underground church in the war-torn Horn of Africa country largely controlled by the al Qaeda-linked militants from al Shabaab.
The al Shabaab militia is being hunted down by Kenya Defense Forces in southern Somalia following the extremists’ incursions into Kenya. They had killed and kidnapped tourists and aid workers inside Kenya, prompting military forces to formally enter into war to secure its borders. In response, the al Shabaab militants have targeted churches in northern Kenyan towns such as Garissa in the hope of dividing Kenyans along religious lines. The Kenyan public, however, is largely backed the government decision to pursue the militants deep into Somalia.
Father, we call on You today to surround Sofia in Your comfort and healing. Heal her body from the many wounds inflicted upon her. But heal her soul that must be overwhelmed with sorrow and fear. Encourage her with a special awareness of Your presence with her. Give her strength and courage to go forth each day in this war-torn country that is so hostile to You and Your children. Fill her to overflowing with Your Spirit. In the name of Jesus “in whom all things hold together,” Amen.