04/02/2019 Somalia (International Christian Concern) – Somalia has had a tumultuous history since its conception. In the early to mid-20th century, regions of the country were passed between Italian and British control until 1960 when the country gained independence. However, nine years later, a different party seized power and reformed the government. Eventually, this government failed in 1991 which led to civil war. The next 20 years saw various groups attempting to regain control of the fractured government, economy, and social system. Today, Somalia is still struggling to pull the pieces back together since a constitution and government was reconstructed in 2012.
Through all of this turmoil and desolation, the church suffered greatly. Christians make up only 0.33% of the population. In the midst of the civil war, many chose to create law and governance according to what they thought was right. Many villages chose to apply sharia law or variations of it in order to maintain control in their region. Because these areas are under strict interpretations of sharia law, anyone who converts to Christianity will certainly face death if they are caught. Operation World notes that, “an infant Somali Church is emerging amid great tribulation.” However, Christians are targeted for persecution and some have even been martyred for standing up for Jesus Christ.
The government collapse also paved the way for the rise of Islamic militant groups such as Al-Shabaab. The terror group is in affiliation with Al-Qaeda and actively attacks surrounding nations such as Kenya and Ethiopia. The militants can easily slip across the borders and quickly attack and retreat back to Somalia. In Kenya, an infamous attack was on Garissa University. Militants stormed the school, separated Muslims and Christians, and then proceeded to systematically shoot the Christians. Almost 150 people were killed in the heinous attack.
Somalia has been a region of terror for Christians. The constant turnover of governments has led to a devastated region. Conversion means certain death or other forms of extreme violence or torture. Pray for the church in Somalia to stand strong in the faith. Pray for terror groups to dissolve and repent. Pray for the neighboring countries to have wisdom with dealing with the situation.
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