|Christian Population||Less than 1% Christians in the country (only a few hundred Christians)|
In this country, in the Horn of Africa, 99% of Somalis are Muslims, and any minority religion is heavily persecuted. So, Islam is an important part of Somali identity, and for a Somali person to decide to leave Islam and follow Jesus is seen as a huge betrayal.
Where the Middle East has the self-proclaimed Islamic State, the Horn of Africa has the militant Islamist group, al-Shabaab. This group has stated publicly that it ‘wants Somalia free of all Christians’. So, most Somali Christians keep their faith completely secret because if al-Shabaab finds someone who has become a Christian, the militants will often kill them on the spot.
“Despite all the struggles and having no idea where I belong in this world, despite the isolation and persecution, I’m at peace. This is why I hold on to Christ. Going back to Islam is not an option.”
– Mohammed*, a former Muslim whose wife left him, and friend attacked him because of his Christian faith.
Mohammed is fortunate that he didn’t pay with his life in this country where Islamic extremists regularly attack Christians. If their faith in Jesus is discovered, they are often executed on the spot.
*Name changed for security reasons.
Open Doors has been involved in strengthening the Church in Somalia through partnership since the 1990s. We focus on finding the few pockets of severely persecuted Christians and supporting them in whatever way relevant. We support the persecuted Church in the region through prayer and discipleship, literature distribution, advocacy and awareness and community development programmes.