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Somalia Facts

Score: 91 / 100
Region: Africa
Persecution Type: Islamic Oppression
Persecution Level: Extreme
Population: 15,182,000
Christians: A Few Hundred, Unspecified
Main Religion: Islam
Government: Federal Parliamentary Republic
Leader: President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed

Profile of Persecution

Violence 53%
Church Life 98%
National Life 98%
Community Life 99%
Family Life 99%
Private Life 97%

A life of violence and isolation

In this country in horn of Africa, estimates suggest that 99 percent of Somalis are Muslims, and any minority religions are heavily persecuted. The Christian community is small and under constant threat of attack. Sharia law and Islam are enshrined in the country’s constitution, and Christian persecution almost always involves violence. Additionally, in many rural areas, Islamic terrorist groups like al-Shabab are de facto rulers advocating for Sharia law as the basis for regulating all aspects of life in Somalia,

How Christians are suffering

Al-Shabab regards Christians with a Muslim background as high-value targets. Believers who left Islam to follow Jesus are often killed on the spot when discovered. Al-Shabab has continuously expressed its desire to eradicate Christians from the country.

Islamic oppression is not limited to militants. Christians also face serious persecution from families and the community at large. Any conversion to Christianity is regarded as a betrayal of the Somali family and clan. As a result, if Somalis are suspected of being converts, family members and clan leaders will harass, intimidate and even kill them. In recent years, the situation appears to have worsened. Islamic militants have intensified their hunt for Christians and in a position of leadership. An attempt to reopen a church in Hargeisa, Somaliland, failed because the government was forced to shut it down due to pressure from the local Islamic population.

Examples

In the World Watch List 2019 reporting period, Christians remained extremely vulnerable to attacks by Islamic militants. In the interests of security, no examples can currently be published.

Pray for Somalia

  • Somali Christians often must hide their faith to stay safe. Pray for their safety and discipleship opportunities for these isolated believers.
  • Pray for Christians who convert from Islam, that they will be protected from violence and oppression.
  • Pray for the government of Somalia, that its leaders will be opened to the truth of the gospel of Jesus.
  • There is no room for Christianity in Somalia. Pray that the Lord will continue to build His Kingdom there despite hostilities. Pray that more laborers will be released into the harvest. Pray that Christian workers will be wise and have grace to daily express God’s love.
  • Please pray for God’s wisdom and protection for field teams. Pray that Somali Christians would feel the support and hope of their brothers and sisters from around the world, and that Open Doors’ efforts will help the Somali church into greater spiritual maturity.

Stories from Somalia

June 2, 2019

Jailed, Hunted, Abandoned by His Tribe—Somali Believer Follows Jesus Through the Fire

Saying "yes" to Jesus in East Africa costs a Somali believer his family, his tribe and his livelihood.

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May 24, 2019

‘Your prayers saved my life!’—Somali Believer Escapes Death

Somali believer Ayaan shares how she escaped death in the Horn of Africa. She's praying to be a missionary to…

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May 21, 2019

In Africa, Christians Are in the Flames of Persecution—and On Fire for Jesus

Throughout sub-Saharan Africa, Christians are being held, feet to the flames, and told to deny Christ.

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