Somalia Facts

Score: 91 / 100
Region: Africa
Persecution Type: Islamic Oppression
Persecution Level: Extreme
Population: 11,392,000
Christians: A Few Hundred, Unspecified
Main Religion: Islam
Government: Federal Parliamentary Republic
Leader: President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed

Profile of Persecution Methodology

Violence 62%
Church Life 98%
National Life 98%
Community Life 96%
Family Life 97%
Private Life 96%

Where Persecution Comes From

The two main sources of persecution for Christians in Somalia are the radical Islamist militant group al-Shabaab and the country’s tribal system. The Islamic clan-based structure of the government and society is detrimental to the practice of the Christian faith, as all Somalis are expected to be Muslims. Al-shabaab also uses the clan structure to gather intelligence, recruit members and advance its ideology. Threatening expulsion or death, they force sheiks and imams to promote jihad. Thus, imams in mosques and madrasas (Islamic religious schools) stand alongside al-Shabaab’s leadership, stating that there is no room for churches, Christianity or Christians in Somalia.

How Christians are Suffering

Over the last few years, the situation for Christians in Somalia has only worsened. Islamic militants have intensified their hunt for Christians, whom al-Shabaab operatives regard as high-value targets. Upon discovery, Christians are often killed on the spot. Al-Shabaab holds to the strict Islamic doctrine of Wahhabism and advocates for Sharia law in every facet of life for Somalis. While al-Shabaab poses a severe threat to Christians in Somalia, believers are also persecuted by their families and the community at large. If a Somali is suspected of conversion, their family members and clan leaders will harass, intimidate or even kill them.


In the WWL 2018 reporting period, shops and businesses of suspected converts were destroyed. At least three converts were forced to leave the country, and at least eight others have been forced to relocate inside the country.

Sources report that at least 23 Christians were killed because they were suspected of conversion. Details cannot be published for security reasons.

Three suspected converts were victims of forced marriage.

Pray for Somalia

  • Please pray that the Lord will build His Kingdom in Somalia in the midst of harsh circumstances.
  • Pray for protection over Somali Christians who must be discipled in secret.
  • Thank the Lord for His promise to build His church and pray that He will remain at work to draw many Muslims to Himself. Pray that He will make Himself known to them.

Stories from Somalia

January 10, 2018

The 4 Major Trends Influencing Global Christian Persecution

World Watch List research indicates these growing movements are the life-altering forces influencing the persecution of Christians around the world.


December 22, 2017

A Dangerous and Difficult Season for Thousands of Christians

For persecuted Christians around the world, Christmas brings increased persecution and requires greater caution.


November 22, 2017

10 Specific Prayers for Muslim Background Believers

Muslim background believers (MBBs) face isolation and shame for their decision to turn from Islam to Christianity--often leading to financial…