Page last updated at 17:05 GMT, Tuesday, 15 April 2008 18:05 UK

Man shot 'for Christian beliefs'

Daud Hassan Ali
Mr Ali had moved to Kings Heath in Birmingham in 1990

A man killed by Islamist fighters in Somalia was shot because he had converted from Islam to Christianity, his widow has claimed.

Daud Hassan Ali, 64, of Kings Heath, Birmingham, was found dead at the school his charity had built in Beledweyne on Monday.

Margaret Ali said she was "certain he was killed because he was born a Muslim but converted to Christianity".

Rehana Ahmed, 32, from Birmingham, and two Kenyan teachers were also killed.

Mr Ali had left Somalia in 1967 and became a Christian after meeting missionaries.

Mrs Ali, 64, said that some Islamists "believe it is ok to kill any man who was born into Islam and left the faith".

'Life-long dream'

She added her husband knew it was a risk going back to Somalia as a Christian but said he was there to teach not convert others to his faith.

She said: "He was a teacher, he never made any attempt to convert anyone to Christianity, and only practised his faith in private.

Somalia locator map

"Most people didn't give tuppence about him being an apostate (someone who has renounced the religion of their birth), but some Muslims interpret the Koran differently.

"I just hope they died quickly and didn't suffer too much. But I hear their bodies are riddled with bullet holes."

She said the last time she spoke to him was Friday evening when he phoned her to wish her happy birthday.

The father-of-two had left the country of his birth in 1967 and worked across the Middle East and Europe before studying in the UK and working as a primary and secondary school teacher.

He eventually settled in Birmingham where he worked for the city council as an educational psychologist before retiring in 2004.

Mrs Ali said it had been her husband's "life-long dream" to go back to Somalia and set up a school to "help his people".

She said they decided to set up the Hiran Community Education Project charity after discovering there were about 20,000 children in central Somalia getting no education.

The Hakab Private English School was only completed one month ago.

Mrs Ali said Ms Ahmed, who was a graduate of the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, had joined her husband at the school to teach English.

She said she was a "gifted student" who was "loved by all the people at the school".

She is survived by a brother and sister.

The Islamist al-Shabab Movement, the armed youth-wing of the Council of Islamic Courts movement, has admitted taking the town.

But a spokesman said: "We heard that the foreigners were killed but we do not claim responsibility."

British officials in Kenya and staff from the High Commission in Nairobi are investigating.

Somalia victim was head teacher
15 Apr 08 |  West Midlands
Country profile: Somalia
11 Apr 08 |  Country profiles
Timeline: Somalia
11 Apr 08 |  Country profiles

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