Saturday, October 22, 2005

World Watch List: Somalia

The eastern African country of Somalia is new in the top ten. Less than one percent of ethnic Somalis are Christian, practicing their faith in secret. Having no central government, the country lacks a constitution or other national laws to protect religious freedom.

Islam is the official religion and social pressure is strong to respect Islamic tradition, especially in certain rural parts of the country. Somali Christians indicated that they face heavy pressure to join Islam.

During 2004, several Christian converts from Islam reported physical assaults due to their new faith, and some had to escape to other villages. In those regions, even the possession of a Bible can lead to a dangerous situation. Three converts were killed by fundamentalist Muslims because of their beliefs.

There is a saying that a Christian Somali is a dead Somali -- when discovered, they risk immediate death.


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