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Christian witness is alternative to Islamic violence in Somalia, bishop says

Catholic World News - September 26, 2013

The Catholic bishop who leads Somalia’s tiny Christian minority see the Church serving a unique mission there, “one that responds with love to the hatred and violence imposed by the ideologies of Islamic extremists.”

Bishop Giorio Bertin, the apostolic administrator of Mogadishu, told the AsiaNews service that Christians sometimes offer “the only opposition to the hatred and violence.” In Somalia, he said, “the population is victim of the chaos and cruelty caused by Islamic courts and the al-Shabaab movement, which exports terrorists all over the world."

Only about 100 Christians remain in Somalia, a country wracked by more than 20 years of near-anarchy, without an effective central government, and with rival warlords battling for control along with Islamic radicals. Christians face violence constantly, and conversions to the faith are punishable by death. Still the Church persists, he said, “giving oneself to God’s initiative.” Bishop Bertin remarked that “this approach cannot be measured.”

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