World Watch Ranking: 2

What does persecution look like in Somalia?

The dangers of being a Christian in Somalia are extreme. Most, if not all, are converts from Muslim backgrounds, making them a high-value target for al-Shabab, a militant group that has repeatedly expressed its desire to eradicate Christians from the country. If discovered, believers could be killed on the spot.

Somali society is overwhelmingly conservative, and leaving Islam is regarded in many places as a betrayal of the Somali culture and clan. Christian converts face intense pressure from their family and local community, which can lead to harassment, intimidation and even death. Even being suspected of converting from Islam to Christianity can lead to life-threatening danger.

Church life in Somalia is non-existent, and in recent years the dangers facing Christians appear to have worsened, as Islamic militants have intensified their hunt for Christian leaders. Attempts to establish or re-open churches have been met with fierce resistance.

Who is most vulnerable to persecution?

No area is safe for Christians in Somalia. However, the most dangerous places are the areas under the control of al-Shabab, particularly in the south and southwest. Even in relatively peaceful and stable places like Puntland and Somaliland, believers are not safe.

Meet "Ayesha"

“I decided 100 times to leave Jesus and not to follow Him but I couldn’t do it. I decided to follow Him."

What has changed this year?

In the last year, al-Shabab has persistently carried out its operations, despite government efforts to reclaim territories from the group. Suicide bombings and various forms of violence have continued, as have attacks targeting Christians. This has led to many Christians fleeing for their lives, with some even opting to leave the country altogether.

What does Open Doors do to help Christians in Somalia?

Open Doors supports Somali believers across the Horn of Africa through discipleship training and by equipping them to cope with severe persecution.

How can you pray for Somalia?

  • Pray that believers who risk everything to follow Jesus will have strength to persevere in their faith despite the dangers.
  • Pray for protection for Christians who are at risk from Islamic militants and their own families and communities.
  • Ask that isolated believers will have opportunities for fellowship, and that they'll be given wisdom and courage to know how to live out their faith.
a prayer for Somalia

Dear God, thank You for the bravery of believers in Somalia. You know each one by name and You know their story. May they feel the warmth and joy of Your presence. Help them as they seek to follow You, knowing the dangers that could come if their faith is discovered. Encourage their hearts and provide ways for them to meet and share safely with other believers. Lord, we're amazed that people are coming to know You in Somalia and we pray for more! Soften the hearts of those who persecute Your people, show them that You are Lord. We cry out to You today and ask that You supernaturally protect and strengthen our sisters and brothers in Somalia. Amen.

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Persecution Level


Persecution Type
  • Islamic oppression
  • Clan oppression
  • Organized corruption and crime

Population of Christians
Hundreds (Open Doors estimate)

Main Religion

Federal Parliamentary Republic

Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre

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