Family of 17-Year-Old Somali Girl Abuses Her for Leaving Islam
Young Christian beaten, shackled to tree
By Jeremy Reynalds, Correspondent for ASSIST News Service
June 18, 2010
NAIROBI, KENYA (ANS) -- The Muslim parents of a 17-year-old Somali girl who converted to Christianity severely beat her for leaving Islam and have regularly shackled her to a tree at their home for more than a month.
According to a story by Compass Direct News, Nurta Mohamed Farah of Bardher, Gedo Region in southern Somalia, has been confined to her home since May 10. A Christian leader who visited the area said that was when her family found out she had embraced Christianity.
"When the woman's family found out that she converted to Christianity, she was beaten badly but insisted on her new-found religion," Compass reported the source said on condition of anonymity. Her parents also took her to a doctor who prescribed medication for a "mental illness," he said.
Com pass reported that alarmed by her determination to keep her faith, her father, Hassan Kafi Ilmi, and mother, Hawo Godane Haf, decided she had suffered a break with reality and forced her to take the prescribed medication. However, it had no effect in swaying her from her faith, the source said.
Traditionally, he added, many Somalis believe the Quran cures the sick, especially the mentally ill, so the Islamic scripture is continually recited to her twice a week.
"The girl is very sick and undergoing intense suffering," Compass reported he said.
Her suffering began after she declined her family's offer of forgiveness in exchange for renouncing Christianity, Compass reported the source said. The confinement began after the medication and punishments failed.
The tiny, shaken Christian community in Gedo Region reports that the girl is shackled to a tree by day and is put in a small, dark room at night, Compass reported the source said.
"There is little the community can do about her condition, which is very bad, but I have advised our community leader to keep monitoring her condition but not to meddle for their own safety," the source told Compass. "We need prayers and human advocacy for such inhuman acts, and for freedom of religion for the Somali people."
Compass said Somalia's Transitional Federal Government generally did not enforce protection of religious freedom found in the Transitional Federal Charter, according to the U.S. Department of State's 2009 International Religious Freedom Report.
"Non-Muslims who practiced their religion openly faced occasional societal harassment,"Compass reported the report stated. "Conversion from Islam to another religion was considered socially unacceptable. Those suspected of conversion faced harassment or even death from members of their community."