International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that on December 16, members of Al-Shabaab, an Islamic militant group, destroyed a Christian library in the Luuq district of Somalia.
The militants destroyed the library and brought Bibles, Christian books, and audio/video materials to the city center and burned them after the Muslim noon prayer. The guardian of the library fled the area hours after the library was found by the Islamists. His whereabouts are unknown.
Al-Shabaab’s district commissioner in Luuq, Sheik Farhaan Abdi Elmoghe, described the discovery of the library as "a blow to the misguided Somali Christians."
The library was located in a derelict farm on the Juba River. It is not uncommon for the persecuted Somali Christians to literally bury their Bibles and other Christian materials because of intense persecution from Islamists.
Speaking from Mogadishu to ICC, a leader of an underground church said, "The library served as an underground Somali Bible college, [and it’s] one of the biggest and the most comprehensive Somali Christian libraries in southern Somalia." He further added that the destruction of the library would not stop the Somali Christians from studying the scriptures.
Al-Shabaab has openly declared that it wants to wipe out Christianity from Somalia. This year alone, the Islamists have killed at least half a dozen Somali Christians. Despite the attacks by Islamists, the number of Somali Muslims converting to Christianity has grown in the past 15 years.
ICC’s Regional Manager for Africa, Jonathan Racho, said, "Christians in Somalia are paying the ultimate price for their faith in Jesus Christ. It’s high time for the churches throughout the world to stand with the underground churches of Somalia. Unfortunately, the world has ignored the atrocities that Al-Shabaab has been committing against innocents in Somalia."