|Last year’s rank||3|
|Population||16 842 000|
|Christians||Hundreds (Open Doors Estimate)|
Somalia is a majority Muslim nation and society expects all Somalis to be Muslim. Imams in mosques and madrassas state publicly that there is no room for Christianity. The violent insurgent group al-Shabaab has repeatedly expressed its desire to eradicate Christians from the country. Christians from Muslim backgrounds are regarded as high-value targets and may be killed on the spot if discovered.
Christians also face serious persecution from their family and community. Leaving Islam is regarded as a betrayal of the family and clan, and family members and clan leaders will harass, intimidate and even kill Somali converts. Anyone even suspected of being a Christian convert is closely monitored by the elders in the community, and even by their own family members. ‘Church life’ is simply not possible, so the few believers must meet in secret. Islamic militants have intensified their hunt for people who are Christian and in a position of leadership.
During the past year, al-Shabaab carried out several violent attacks in the capital, Mogadishu, killing many soldiers and civilians, hundreds more were wounded. The political landscape has deteriorated, and jihadist groups have taken advantage of this, increasing their numbers of followers, and escalating their bid for control of the country’s territories.
“When I got home, the men in my family were waiting for me. They beat me and took my mobile phone and they locked me up in a room. They said, ‘We have heard that you are corrupted,’ but they have never once used the word ‘Christian.’”
Nala is a Somali believer forced to flee the country.
How does Open Doors support our family in Somalia?
Open Doors supports Somali believers across the Horn of Africa through discipleship training and equipping them to cope with severe persecution.