Somalia is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a Christian. There are no church buildings in this country, which is almost 100% Muslim.
The tiny Christian community, made up almost entirely of converts from Islam, faces great pressure and violence. Many have been murdered for apostasy by family, community members or Al Shabaab jihadists.
Islam is a major part of Somali national identity. Article 2 of the 2012 provisional constitution declares Islam to be the state religion, and no law can be enacted that is not compliant with the general principles and objectives of sharia. Promoting any religion apart from Islam is illegal.
Somalia has been ravaged by conflict since 1991, when rival warlords began fighting for control. This has resulted in a Somali diaspora estimated at almost two million, many in Kenya.
In 1991 the self-proclaimed Republic of Somaliland asserted its independence from the rest of Somalia. Though not internationally recognised, it has experienced relative stability. Islam is its official religion and the constitution prohibits Muslims from converting to another religion. In 2020 a Christian couple were arrested for being apostates and evangelists.
In 2006 Islamist militant group Al Shabaab (meaning “the Youth”), with links to Al Qaeda, began waging an insurgency against the Somali government. Despite international efforts, spearheaded by the African Union, to defeat Al Shabaab, it still holds swathes of territory.
Al Shabaab aims to establish a caliphate in Somalia and neighbouring regions, such as north-east Kenya. The group has carried out numerous attacks in Kenya, and on its Christian residents, since 2011 when the Kenyan government sent troops into Somalia to counter terrorist activity. Al Shabaab hunts down and kills Somali converts to Christianity.
Pray that Somali Christians, who face the strong possibility of violence, even death, for their faith in Jesus, will find protection under the shadow of the Almighty. Ask God to bring peace to conflict-wracked Somalia and freedom to its people.
The above content can also be found in the Praying for the Persecuted Church (2021-2022) booklet