AFRICA/ETHIOPIA - Small Christian orphans converted to Islam

Thursday, 4 January 2018


Gode (Agenzia Fides) - About 30 Christian (Orthodox) children have already been forcibly converted to Islam. And the danger threatens about 120 children, adolescents and young Christians in 12 reception centers for orphans in Gode, Somali region of Ethiopia, thanks to the project and to the NGO "SOS Children's Villages International". The news sent to Fides comes from a local source which asks for anonymity and confirms the alarm launched by two Orthodox priests working on the spot, Fr. Freu and Fr. Efrem.
About 30 Orthodox Christian children have already been converted to Islam in the mosque built by an NGO of Austrian origin that functions as a madrasa (Koranic school). The little ones welcomed in the houses for minors must pray in the mosque 5 times a day. The same situation affects about 120 Christian children entrusted to a woman, usually a widow with no children, and an aunt, all Muslim women of Somali origin. "All the children, without exception - reports the local source of Fides - are obliged to go to the temple and repeat the verses of the Koran".
Already in 2014 Fr. Freu had warned his orthodox superiors about the phenomenon of Islamization. Since then, more than three years have passed and Father Freu reports what is happening in the SOS Children's Villages in Gode. "I am responsible before God for their faith. I am ready to give my life to defend my little faithful. They do not let me enter the village to talk with Christian children". Father Freu tells Fides: "I know that the benefactors of SOS Children's Villages International are mostly Christians. But perhaps they do not know that their money is used to indoctrinate children to Islam".
Mustafà Hadji, a 60-year-old Muslim who built the mosque and substituted the Christian Ato Kelele (now deceased), runs the reception centers in Gode. SOS Children's Villages International gave great recognition to Hadji’s work. SOS Children's Villages International is a non-confessional non-governmental organization, which in its statute says it "respects all religions and cultures", and collaborates "with trusted partners in places where we can contribute to social development", promoting the rights of childhood. (AP) (Agenzia Fides, 4/1/2018)