International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that on January 14 Somali Islamists arrested a Muslim father after two of his teenage children converted to Christianity in Kismayo, Somalia. The two sons of Mo’alim Mohamud Aw-Omar converted to Christianity late last year. They fled their homes following their conversion.

Members of the radical Islamic group, al-Shabaab, accused Aw-Omar of “failing to raise his sons as good Muslims” because “good Muslims cannot convert to Christianity.” Aw-Omar, who is still a Muslim, insisted that his sons have memorized the Qur’an, fasted and prayed regularly and therefore he should not be accused of failing his duties.

According to sources on the ground, the Islamists have refused to release Aw-Omar until his two sons return to Kismayo. This is unlikely to happen because the teenagers will be killed if they return.

According to the strict interpretation of the Islamic sharia law that Al-Shabaab follows, leaving Islam is a crime punishable by death. The law is based on the Hadith “…The Prophet of Allah said, ‘If somebody [a Muslim] discards his religion, kill him” Bukhari (52:260).

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