From a population of over 16 million, it’s estimated that there are only a few hundred Christians in Somalia. It’s very hard to know, given the secrecy they are forced into.
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-Shabaab, a violent group that advocates Sharia (Islamic law) as the basis for regulating all aspects of life. Christians from a Muslim background are considered a ‘high-value target’ by al-Shabaab, 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 will be 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.”Momina
Momina (not her real name) is a Somali believer in the Horn of Africa. She met Jesus in a dream – a common way God uses to break through to people who have no chance of hearing about Him any other way. She managed to find a Christian man, who gave her a Bible – and she gave her life to Christ!
But she faced extreme opposition from her Muslim family. Her extended family rained insults, rejection and threats on her – and even her husband abandoned Momina and said she was dead to him. In any country this would be terrible, but Somali culture is so clan-based that Momina was left without any source of help.
Except, of course, God. He led her to a town where an Open Doors partner runs a church that takes care of believers from a Muslim background.
“Your support reached me when I was almost ‘gone’, almost broken and when I felt I had no one,” says Momina. “I thought I would see my children die one by one, or all at once. If not for you, our grief, hunger and thirst would have killed us.”
Please keep praying for your brothers and sisters from Somalia. Your prayers make an enormous difference to those following Jesus no matter the cost.
Open Doors supports Somali believers across the Horn of Africa with discipleship support, literature distribution and community development, as well as broadcasting radio programmes into the country.
Lord, thank You that You are standing by Somali Christians – that however small they are in number, they are loved and cherished by the Almighty. Please encourage those who despair, and bring joy in the face of extraordinary hardship. We also ask that You would convict those who persecute Christians, as you did with the apostle Paul, and show them the truth of the gospel. Amen.
Your support helps persecuted Christians continue to courageously follow Jesus.
Together, we can reach those where persecution hits hardest.