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Catholic church in Somaliland reopens, then closes

A Catholic church in Somaliland reopened after 30 years on July 29 but was closed a week later under pressure from the local Muslim population.

Somaliland is a de facto independent region within Somalia, where the practice of Christianity is forbidden. Somaliland’s government permitted the restoration and reopening of St. Anthony of Padua Church in Hargeisa, a city of 1.5 million, and highlighted the region’s relative commitment to freedom of worship.

Eight days after the church’s reopening, however, Skeikh Khalil Abdullahi, Somaliland’s religious affairs ministers, announced that “the government has decided to respect the wishes of the people and their religious leaders, and keep the church closed as it has been for the past 30 years.”


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