Thursday, September 04, 2008


There is a new tendency to depict Somalis, who occupy 60% of the entire horn of africa and who are staunch 99.9% muslims as turning to Christianity for salvation, a notion that beats minds, given the queer ways of some Somalis to obtain a ticket to western nations through Church affiliated refugee programs.

In a report carried out in the press, even the UNHCR in Kenya acknowledges that many of these so-called "dozen"somali christians are not genuine and have a motive, intended as a survival tactics.

UNHCR spokesman Emmanuel Nyabera says the agency has responded to a few cases concerning Somali Christians, but adds that some cases were rejected after they discovered that they were not genuine.

Sheikh Hassan Omar of The Council of Preachers of Kenya CIPK, dismisses the claims as a ruse to get asylum in the US and other Western countries. "I would advise them, if they want to go [to the US], they should look for other channels and should not involve Islam and Muslims in the issue."

It is reported that there are dozens of refugee Somalis living in Nairobi who have converted from Islam to Christianity and pray in secluded houses around Nairobi's Eastleigh Estate, the somali corner of the capital city, known as Little Mogadishu. Their prayer session is simple and conducted in Somali. Elders take turns to pray or read verses from the Somali bible before a sermon is delivered. Some say they have been practising Christianity for more than 10 years and have been treated as "outcast" in their community, which is predominantly Muslim.

They say they have suffered at the hands of their families and fellow Somalis in Kenya who are angry with their decision to change their religion. CIPK has rejected claims that the few Somali Christians, who by any way, are alledged to be not genuine, are facing persecution.

Some say they have suffered at the hands of fellow Somalis "We are very saddened by these claims because Islam gives people the freedom to choose their faith," said Sheikh Hassan Omar, a CIPK official. "I don't believe the stories by the Somali Christians that they have faced persecution because they converted to Christianity.

These are lies," Sheikh Omar said. He said Kenya has freedom of religion and association, and that the Somali Christians have the freedom to practise their faith and congregate and worship with other Christians. Eastleigh is also a home to many Ethiopian Christians who resemble Somalis and intermingle with them.It is difficult to sometime differentiate between Some somalis and Ethiopians.

"In those camps, these people are in greater danger than they are even in Nairobi itself." The UNHCR office in Nairobi has denied these claims, saying all refugees get an opportunity to present their case and receive the necessary protection. Despite the hardships the face, this unique group of Christians says its numbers are growing.

In the late 1990s, there were barely 20 Somali Christians in Nairobi, but now their number is rising they claim. And they pray that one day they will be accepted by a society that has already room for them.