Case Studies — Stories of Success

Mahmoud’s journey to freedom

How we helped a Somali professor persecuted for blasphemy and apostasy to reach safety.

  • Date / 20 October 2021
  • By / Giovanni Gaetani

The persecution

In 2019, Professor Mahmoud Jama Ahmed became the target of religious fundamentalists because of his criticism of Islam. Arrested in March 2019, he spent 307 days in jail on blasphemy charges. After being released on presidential pardon in February 2020, some Imams started preaching that Mahmoud should be killed, because he am an ‘apostate of Islam’ and apostates should be killed even if they repent.

One year in hiding

Mahmoud and his family left Somalia and found shelter in a neighbouring country, where they lived in hiding for one long year thanks to the support of Humanists International, who provided financial assistance.


In April 2021, Mahmoud and his family managed to resettle to a safe country, where they are slowly rebuilding their lives. As confirmed by Mahmoud himself: "All this could not have been possible without the support of Humanists International."

You can read all the details about Mahmoud’s story from our Cases of Concern page or in his own words on our blog.

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