Somalia: Religion

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The Shrinking Christian Population in Somalia

                                                    By: Bridget Giffei 

When one wakes up in the morning in Somalia, they likely hear the sound of a muezzin calling for prayer. What one doesn’t hear is the sound of church bells calling for morning mass. That is because about all of Somalia’s population is Muslim with a small amount of Christians still living there. From an Islamic law being created to the effort of killing all Christians, the situation will not be improving anytime soon. Islam is the cause of preventing the expression of Christianity in Somalia.

The killing of Christians has been happening in Somalia for quite a while. Over the past decade, it is believed that more than 500 Christians were killed. Muslims in Somalia show much hatred towards the Christian religion because they view it as a foreign religion coming from their enemy, Ethiopia, and their former colonial masters (Mbogo). Most of the Christians being killed are either innocent ethnic Bantus or innocent humanitarian workers (Mbogo). In the past year, an Italian nun involved with humanitarian work, a British couple working for a children’s village, and a man from Kenya who was also doing humanitarian work were all killed due to their faith (Mbogo). As for the Bantus, they have been viewed as second – class citizens to the Islamic Somalis and are used as laborers with no education, land ownership, or voice in politics (Mbogo). Among all the nations in Africa, Somalia has proven that they are the worst persecutors of Christians on the continent (Militant Islam Monitor).

Creating an Islamic law in Somalia shows that no other religions are being taken into consideration while setting up rules for the country. These laws are known as Shariah. Somalia’s president, Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, said this to reporters, “Shariah is something that everyone in Somalia believes in and lives by” (AFP). I highly doubt the Christians in Somalia believe in the Shariah or want to live by it. Somalia’s government should have found a set of laws that could be accepted by anyone, no matter their religion, instead of just the Islamic religion.

Today, Islam is still preventing the expression of Christianity in Somalia. If the British and Italian wouldn’t have come to Somalia, maybe Christianity wouldn’t exist in the country and there would be no discrimination between religions. Everyone deserves equal rights and the right to express their religion. Looking towards the future, it is believed that the persecution of Somalia’s small Christian community will continue, and most likely worsen (John Mark Ministries).       








Works Cited


“Convert From Islam To Christianity Killed In Somalia.” John Mark Ministries.  16 May 2009 <‌.htm>.

The persecution of Somalia’s small Christian population is believed to continue and most likely worsen. There is a long history of hate between Christian Ethiopians and Islamic Somalis.


Ibrahim, Mohammed. “Somalia Adopts Islamic Law to Deter Insurgency .” The New York Times. 18 Apr. 2009.  18 May 2009 <‌/‌/‌///‌somalia.html?_r=1>.

Under Islamic law, Somalia adopted the legal code of Islam based on the Koran. These laws are also known as Shariah.


“Islam in the Horn of Africa.” Somaliland Press. 15 Mar. 2009.  16 May 2009 <‌/‌islam-in-the-horn-of-africa>.

The status of Islam has never been equal to the status of Christianity. Islam is the most widely practiced religion in the horn of Africa.


Mbogo, Stephen. “Somalia’s Tiny Christian Community Reportedly Under Fire.” Crosswalk.  16 May 2009 <‌/>.

Christian persecution in Somalia is on the rise. The small Christian community mostly consists of ethnic Bantus and humanitarian workers. Bantus are seen as second - class citizens who are used as laborers and have no education, land ownership, or voice in politics. There is little hope that the violence against Christians will stop anytime soon.


“Somalia President Defends Plans for Islamic Law.” Google. 13 Mar. 2009. AFP.  18 May 2009 <>.

Somalia’s president, Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, made the statement, “Shariah is something that everyone in Somalia believes in and lives by.”


“Somali Islamists declare : ‘we will slaughter Christians’ - ‘Somalis are 100% Muslim and will always remain so.’” Militant Islam Monitor.  17 Oct. 2006 <‌>.

More than 500 Christians were killed in Somalia over the past decade. Somalia is considered to be a country that does not recognize religious freedom. Somalia is the worst persecutor of Christians among all the nations in Africa.

Last Updated By Bridget Giffei on May 22, 2009.