Somaliland: Expatriate Refutes Alleged Christianization of Youths

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Dr Robert Basketball practising at Timaade grouds “I am certainly a Christian, and as part of my Christian faith, I speak, whenever I have the opportunity, about Jesus Christ. This is my duty as a Christian, just as Somalilanders often speak to me about the Islamic religion. I am happy to speak about religion, and hope that we can always do so in a respectful and tolerant manner. We need to respect each other’s faith, and I respect true practitioners of Islam” Dr Robert

By: Yusuf M Hasan

HARGEISA (Somalilandsun) – Reports of ongoing activities to convert youths to Christianity have been refuted by the alleged perpetrator.

Dr. Robert has vehemently denied his alleged activities as pertains to the Christianization of youthful citizens who are said to be enticed into converting from Islam to Christianity through promises of better livelihoods as opposed to current status of theirs.

The allegations were made by Sheikh Aden Sune a prominent religious leader during a Friday sermon at a Hargeisa mosque where he advised citizens against the activities of one foreigner who is in the country in the guise of a humanitarian worker at both Edna Aden Hospital and Golis University.

In his allegations posted by Waheen http://waaheen.com/?p=61686 Sheikh Sune also claims first hand observation of inappropriate conduct to young girls by Dr Roberty during a visit the sheikh made to Adan Aden Hospital recently.

Speaking to Somalilandsun the Dr who agreed that his religious adherence was Christianity said the allegations by the Sheikh whom he holds in high esteem, are mostly false and without foundation.

As per the sheikh’s accusation the American doctor religious conversion activities are facilitated by his known mingling with locals at various foras and with this in view Somalilandsun sought to ascertain the facts by questioning officials of the Tima’ade Basketball ground where the Doctor frequently practices.

According to the Tima’ade Groundskeeper Mr. Mohamed Khalif aka ‘Royal Asey’ the American Doctor who has practiced basketball at the grounds in Hargeisa for the last three years has never been observed preaching his Christian religion or converting the numerous players of all ages he is in contact with.

Said he “I have not seen Dr Robert preach or try to convert anyone to Christianity at any one time during the three years he has visited the grounds for practice every afternoon”

The groundskeeper added that the only thing the Doctor can be accused of is the occasional helping hand he gives to players with needs at one time or another.

As per Royal Asey the Examples of the various benefits accrued by players and the Tima’ade grounds and attributed to the American doctor include

• Provision of free medical services and pharmaceutical products to ailing players

• Regular supply of asthma inhalers to a couple of asthmatic players

• Supply of free high quality basketball boots to all players and more recently

• Helping with the purchase and installation of high voltage lights at the grounds thus enhanced vision during nighttime activities.

These sentiments were confirmed by a number of players who informed that they can only vouch for the doctor’s contact at the Tima’ade grounds where he has proved outstanding not only as a basketball player and mentor but as a regular source of medical and related support.

In unionism the players said that their vouching should not be construed as a contradiction of sheikh Sune whom they hold in esteem but a clarification of their observation of the American doctor’s conduct at the Tima’ade grounds where their association starts and ends.

When Somalilandsun approached the Dr  during Saturday’s practice session in the afternoon his initial fears of engaging with the members of the press whom he accused of distorting statements were dispelled when asked to write his own statement in responses to the Sheikh Sune Allegations.

Below are the verbatim excerpts of Dr Robert’s email conveyed statement.

Dear Mr. Yusuf,

Thank you for contacting me and giving me this opportunity to respond to the allegations made by Sheikh Adan Sune in his Friday sermon and in the Waheen newspaper. My statement is below.

Nabadi ha idinla jirto!

I am Dr. Robert, American physician, currently working at Edna Adan University Hospital. I would like to respond to the allegations made about me and Edna Hospital by Sheikh Adan Sune, published online and in the Waheen newspaper of 16/03/2013.

First of all, I greet the Sheekh, and assure him that I wish only good for himself, his family, his mosque, and Somaliland as a whole.

I understand his concern for the people of Somaliland, especially for women and children. Unfortunately, he has heard and published many things about me that are not true, and I take this chance to respond. I would invite the Sheekh to visit me in my office or at my home if he would like to discuss these matters further. I pray for God’s blessing on him and on all of Somaliland. Sheekh Adan is correct about certain things.

I am certainly a Christian, and as part of my Christian faith, I speak, whenever I have the opportunity, about Jesus Christ. This is my duty as a Christian, just as Somalilanders often speak to me about the Islamic religion. I am happy to speak about religion, and hope that we can always do so in a respectful and tolerant manner. We need to respect each other’s faith, and I respect true practitioners of Islam.

As to the errors Sheekh Adan has made:

1) While I am a physician, I do not use my position to force my faith on other people. This would be unethical and unkind. I do my best to show my patients the love and compassion of Jesus Christ, and pray for them. Many, many of my patients pray for me as well, and bless me according to the Islamic faith.

2) I help many poor people with free medical care, medicine, and sometimes other kinds of aid. This help is never linked to faith. I never offer to help people if they will convert to Christianity. The great majority of people that I help are Muslims and will always be Muslims. I never attempt to buy conversions with money. This would be unethical and ridiculous. No one can buy the soul of another. I never offer to help people leave this country, though many ask me to do this. The story printed in the newspaper about me trying to buy people with medical care and American visas is pure fiction, completely untrue.

Dr Robert: A Commited chrisitan who respects Islam3) I have never behaved in an impure manner with other women, Somalilanders or otherwise. I fear God, and know that I will stand before Him someday for judgement. How could I do such a thing with my poor patients? I deplore the behavior of the German man who was accused of this, and state clearly that I have nothing to do with it.I have been happily married for 29 years, and have never touched another woman in a sexual manner. It is true that I have many young female patients, often young mothers who have been abandoned by their husbands. My religion, and the Sheekh’s religion both call us to show mercy and kindness to such needy people, in all purity. I will add at this point that I do not teach my Christian faith to children either, not at Edna Hospital, not anywhere.

4) I have never worked at Gollis University. The Sheekh has confused me with somebody else.

5) Edna Adan University Hospital welcomes medical personnel and patients of all faiths, races, nationalities. Edna herself is a Muslim, as are all of her Somaliland staff, to the best of my knowledge. Edna Hospital is not a center for propagating religion, especially Christianity. The hospital exists to care for the needy,and Edna insists that her patients be treated with respect, without regard to religious issues.

I invite those who accuse me of such behavior to visit me at Edna Hospital. Talk to our patients. Come to my neighborhood, and talk to my neighbors. Come to Timacade, and talk to the basketball players.

Do I bribe people to convert? Do I seduce women? Do I refuse to help people because they do not convert? Do I offer American visas? I believe that you will find the answer to all these questions is “no.” I believe that they will tell you that I am a serious Christian man, trying his best to serve them and this nation, and to model the love and mercy of Jesus Christ.

May God’s blessings be on you all,

Dr. Robert

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