Al-Shabab: Christian Organisations Closed

In a press release distributed to the media today, Al—Shabaab, the Islamist force controlling much of Southern Somalia, have closed down at least three organisations working inside the country, stating that they were ‘found to be actively propagating Christianity in this Muslim country’ and that ‘the propagation of the Christian faith is unacceptable in Islam as well as in the Muslim society.’ The press release stated that:

  • The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) was started by the Seventh-day Adventist Church as a way to follow Christ’s example.
  • Diakonia is an organization founded in 1966 by five Swedish churches and the members of these congregations form Diakonia’s support base. The primary goal of this organization is to spread the Christian faith.
  • World Vision is a Christian organization motivated by what they call ‘their faith in Jesus Christ’ and dedicated to spreading the message of Christianity to the children, families, and the communities they work with.

I checked up these claims and looked up the websites of the organisations and here is what I found:

1 – ADRA:

The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) was started by the Seventh-day Adventist Church as a way to follow Christ’s example of serving and caring for those in need. Put simply, ADRA improves the lives of people around the world. The agency searches out deprivation, social injustice, and need—then works to eliminate them. ADRA invests in the potential of individuals through advocacy, supporting families, promoting health, providing food and water, establishing livelihoods, and responding to emergencies.

2 – Diakonia:

Five Christian Swedish denominations founded Diakonia in 1966. Our founders form our Swedish support base:
The Swedish Alliance Mission
The Baptist Union of Sweden
Evangeliska Frikyrkan/InterAct (information in Swedish only)
The Methodist Church in Sweden (information in Swedish only)
The Mission Covenant Church of Sweden

3 – World Vision:

Our mission
World Vision is an international partnership of Christians whose mission is to follow our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in working with the poor and oppressed to promote human transformation, seek justice, and bear witness to the good news of the Kingdom of God.

The decision by Al-Shabaab to close down these organisations, however, is not an isolated case but sheds more light into the reality of the battleground in today’s turbulent world. It is the post 9/11 mentality where everyone has become suddenly conscious of their surroundings in terms of it being either Islamic or Christian/Jewish and thus forming moral judgments according to that concept. What the post 9/11 era has also unmistakably revealed is the conflicting belief systems of the different religions and that the relationship between Muslims and Christians/Jews has ascended to a higher pedestal of rivalry.

One strange thing I have noticed with their press release though, is that it actually looks and is structured like a standard press release, presenting the facts in an anti-climatic method. It has ‘IMMEDIATE RELEASE’ all in caps just above the headline; it even has the three # symbols underneath the last line of the release. Perhaps they are standardising their media department to reflect the Western media so it should be legible and thus have a wider reach within the Western communities. The only difference is that while your standard press release notifies, this Jihadi press release orders!

About Mogadishu Man
Blogging from Mogadishu seems somewhat inconceivable doesn't it?

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