Hundreds (OD estimate)
President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed
It is impossible to publicly admit your Christian faith in Somalia, and “church life” is non-existent. Islam is considered a crucial part of Somali identity, and if any Somali is suspected of having converted to Christianity, they are in great danger. Members of their family, clan or community will harass, intimidate or even kill them. Women may be raped and forcibly married.
Christians are also in danger from al-Shabab, a violent group that advocates Shariah (Islamic law) as the basis for regulating all aspects of life. Christians from a Muslim background are considered a “high-value target” by al-Shabab, who have often executed believers on the spot, when discovered.
If a Christian man is killed or abducted, his whole family suffers, as the man is usually the breadwinner. The remaining family are often left unprotected and seen as a stain on the community.
“We were all dead, but Jesus came to save us and give us a new life … I leave my life in His hands. I am so excited that God is with me wherever I am; I am also glad the Lord listens to my prayers.”
Somalia remains No. 3 on the World Watch List, as one of the countries where Christians face the most extreme persecution. The pressure on Christians remains at an extreme level. Christians in the country risk being killed by Islamic militants, and clan leaders, elders and family members monitor the movements of any suspected Christian convert.
In recent years, the situation appears to have got even worse. Islamic militants have intensified their hunt for Christians, particularly any in a position of leadership.
All Christians from a Muslim background are in great danger in Somalia—and everybody is considered to be from a Muslim background. Those living in areas under the control of al-Shabab are particularly vulnerable.
Open Doors supports Somali believers across the Horn of Africa by focusing on discipleship support, literature distribution and community development, as well as broadcasting radio programs into the region.