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A convert from Islam to Christianity was shot dead in Bulahawa, Somalia on August 18 by members of al-Shabaab, an Islamic militant group, according to an August 22 report from Compass Direct. In early 2009, Ahmed Matan (41) began facing harassment from Muslim militants who demanded to know why he had expanded his trading business to Mandera, a town in neighbouring Kenya. Two weeks before his death, Matan informed the former leader of the underground church he had attended since 2001 that militants were monitoring his activities and preventing him from working in Kenya. He stated, "I am afraid for my life -- the al-Shabaab want to get a proof that I follow the Christian faith. They have not been seeing me in the mosque and seem to have realized that I am not part of them." Matan is mourned by a wife and three children aged seven, four and three months.

Pray for those grieving the loss of Matan. Pray that Somali believers will not fear but remain faithful even upon threat of death (Revelation 2:10).

For more information on the persecution facing believers in Somalia, go to the Somalia Country Report.