Christianity in Somalia

Christianity is a minority religion in Somalia, with around 1,000 practitioners in a population of over eight million inhabitants.[1][2] Most Christian adherents come from the Bantu minority ethnic group,[3] and belong to the Evangelical and Wesleyan Church of the Nazarene. There is one Catholic diocese for the whole country, the Diocese of Mogadishu.


The Diocese of Mogadishu estimates that there were about 100 Roman Catholic practitioners in Somalia in 2004. This was down from a high of 8,500 adherents during the start of the trusteeship period in 1950, under the Prefecture Apostolic of Benadir of the Vicariate Apostolic of Mogadiscio.[4]

Thirty seven years earlier in 1913, during the early part of the colonial era, there were virtually no Christians in the Somali territories. Around 100–200 followers existed in the schools and orphanages of the few Catholic missions in the British Somaliland protectorate.[5] There were also no known Catholic missions in Italian Somaliland during the same period.[6]

According to the World Christian Encyclopedia, the Somalia Believers Fellowship, the Somalia Mennonite Mission and the Seventh-day Adventists are present in this country.[7] Somalia is included in the Episcopal Area of the Horn of Africa of the Anglican Diocese of Egypt, though there are no current local congregations.[8] The Adventist Mission indicates that there are no Adventist members in Somalia, and that Christianity in general has seen little growth.[9]

Religious freedom

Due to the ongoing civil war in the southern part of the country, professing Christians in Somalia have faced persecution and sometimes death. There are no church buildings in the country nor any legal protection for Christians, some of whom would meet in underground churches.[1]

Paramilitary groups in Somalia have also engaged in widespread looting of Christian graves,[10] in addition to the desecration of Sufi Muslim graves and mosques.[11] Sometimes the term "Christian" was a label that the jihadists would affix on people they suspected of working for Ethiopian intelligence.[1] In August 2009, International Christian Concern also reported that four Christians working to help orphans in Somalia were beheaded by Islamist extremists when they refused to convert to Islam.[12]

In December 2013, the Ministry of Justice and Religious Affairs released a directive prohibiting the celebration of Christian festivities in the country.[13]

See also


  1. ^ a b c "Almost expunged: Somalia's Embattled Christians". October 22, 2009. Retrieved October 22, 2009. 
  2. ^ Department of Economic and Social Affairs Population Division (2009). "World Population Prospects, Table A.1" (.PDF). 2008 revision. United Nations. Retrieved March 12, 2009. 
  3. ^ A study on minorities in Somalia
  4. ^ Catholic Church in Somalia
  5. ^ Charles George Herbermann, The Catholic encyclopedia: an international work of reference on the constitution, doctrine, discipline, and history of the Catholic church, Volume 14, (Robert Appleton company: 1913), p.139.
  6. ^ Charles Henry Robinson, History of Christian Missions, (READ BOOKS: 2007), p. 356.
  7. ^ World Christian Encyclopedia, (2nd edition), Volume 1, p. 673
  8. ^ The Episcopal Area of the Horn of Africa
  9. ^ Global Mission’s Top 10 Places to Pray for – REGION: NORTH Africa – Somalia
  10. ^ Widspread [sic] desecration of Christian graves in Somalia
  11. ^ Shabaab rebels destroy grave and mosque in Somalia
  12. ^ "Al Shabaab Reportedly Beheads 4 Christians, Rips Gold Teeth From Locals' Mouths". FOX News. August 12, 2009. Retrieved June 11, 2011. 
  13. ^ Khalif, Abdulkadir (25 December 2013). "Somalia bans Christmas celebrations". Daily Nation. Retrieved 3 January 2014. 

External links

  • Catholic Church in Somalia
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