Christian Living

africamatters 06/09/09

Desperately Searching for a Cause

According to his family, Burhan Hassan was a fairly normal American teenager; bright with a promising future in either medicine or law. And yet, somewhere along the way, Hassan was recruited to travel back to his native Somalia to fight in someone else's war.

He was only eight-months-old when his family left Somalia. They lived for a few years in a refugee camp in Kenya. I don't know for sure, but I would bet it was the Dadaab refugee camp that I have visited in the past. It is a desperate place and many of its inhabitants are desperate to leave. Some that I met begged me to help them come to America or give them money for college so they could get out of Dadaab.

The Promised Land

Hassan's family beat the odds and made it out of their refugee camp. They made it to the U.S. But why would a young man with so much ahead of him leave "the promised land" of America to return to the dry and dangerous land of Somalia?

I don't know. I haven't personally talked with Hassan's family. But from media accounts, they're not too sure either. Only the man and God know what was in his heart.

Looking for a Cause

Hassan was one of about twelve men to disappear from Minnesota, assumed to be in Somalia. Many of the men who went had good jobs. Hassan's uncle tells the Associated Press that the men were "doctors, lawyers, engineers, scientists and leaders of the future of our strong and prosperous nation."

Many in this next generation of Americans are looking for a cause to believe in; to live and die in its persuit.

Many recruited into terrorism around the world are lured by promises of money for their destitute families. But not these men. They had good jobs or were at least on their way to getting them.

It seems the thirst for a cause goes deeper than a profession or lack of anything better to do.

The need to be a part of something greater than ourselves is hard-wired into our DNA. Nearly everyone feels a need to fill the vacuum with something. It's up to us to decide what that something will be.

Prayer Needed

I feel for Hassan's mother.  She survived losing her husband in a tragic accident years ago.  She got her family out of Somalia and a refugee camp.  She built a new life in America.   

Last Friday the family got a phone call.  A disembodied voice told them Hassan was dead and buried.

He was only 17.

Regardless of Hassan's motives for going to Somalia, he leaves behind a grieving family in need of our prayers.