OVERVIEW: Most Somalis believe that to be Somali is to be Muslim, so those who come to Christ are seen as denying not only their religion but also their nationality. After years of drought and civil war, more Somalis live outside Somalia than in it. Somalis believe that any place where a group of Somalis is located is Somalia and is governed by Somali law. Therefore, any Christian missionary or Christian convert in a Somali community anywhere in the world faces severe persecution regardless of the national laws. Still, the dispersion of Somali people has also created unique opportunities for the gospel to spread among them, especially through social media. They are now more reachable, and more Somali believers exist today than ever before. Many of these Somali Christians are passionate about sharing their faith with their people.
MAJOR RELIGIONS: Most Somalis are Sunni Muslims, with especially radicalized Islamist views.
PERSECUTOR: The al-Shabab terrorist organization and other Islamist groups persecute Christians, as do the government, communities and families.
WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A CHRISTIAN IN SOMALIA: There are no church buildings in Somalia, and Christians do not meet regularly. It is strictly illegal to become a Christian or to evangelize. Because there is little trust between people, believers do not reveal themselves. Christians are actively hunted and, when discovered, immediately killed by al-Shabab. Christians are more likely to be killed by a family member than to be imprisoned.
ACCESS TO BIBLES: Bibles are illegal and extremely dangerous to own. Most believers access digital versions on their phones or other digital devices.
VOM WORK: VOM equips secret believers inside Somalia and supports those who carefully share their faith inside Somalia. VOM also supports social media efforts that reach inside the country.