HARGEISA — A local court in the capital Hargeisa on Saturday sentenced an ethnic Somali man to two years imprisonment and $300 fine for claiming to be a prophet.

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Judge Abdulrashid Mohamed Hersi said Ethiopian national Sharif Ahmed Ali was found guilty of claiming prophethood. The judicial official added he claimed to be Prophet al-Khadar and the Mahdi. Al-Khadar, also known as Saint George by Christians, is a mythical Saint believed by some Muslims who reckon he will appear at any time. The Mahdi is considered a twelfth Imam in Shia teachings and a prophesied redeemer of Islam in the last days before the Day of Resurrection.

During the five-day proceedings, he pleaded innocent and denied all the accusations but the court insisted they have seven witnesses. Mr Ali was carrying a stick which he claimed holds define powers like Prophet Moses, the court ordered to be destroyed. He also told locals he controls mother nature and that he will ensure it does not rain in the country for the next eight months. His words come as the region is hit by the worst drought in two decades.

The court finally ordered him to be deported back to his native land in the Ethiopian administered Somali Region once he finishes serving his two year term.

This is the first time such case has occurred in Somaliland and there is no blasphemy law but Muslims believe that prophet Mohammad is the last prophet from God. Numerous such cases have been reported in places such as Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Pakistan and Iran. Only four days ago, the Gulfnews reported an Egyptian man in his 30s declared himself the Mahdi after he snatched a microphone at the Grand Mosque in Makkah. He was immediately arrested and questioned in one of the mosque’s rooms where he was declared mentally ill. No one knows if he shares the same mental problems.

Somalilandpress | 17 April 2011