DESCRIPTION Somalia has experienced continuous conflict for more than a decade. A transitional government maintains loose control
over the capital, Mogadishu. Christians fear that the rise of radical Islam will lead to Shariah law and greater persecution. Islam is the official religion, and there is no official religious freedom. Article 5 of the Somali constitution states: “Promotion of any religion in the territory of Somaliland other than Islam is prohibited. The laws of the nation
shall be grounded on, and shall not be valid, if they are contrary to Islamic Shariah.”
Category: Restricted Nation
Religion: Muslim 99.95%, Christian 0.05%
Head of State: Transitional Federal President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed
Just one percent of Somalis are Christians — most are secret believers. It is difficult to know the exact number of underground churches. Islamic radicals, who have vowed to wipe out all Somali Christians, have murdered many. Persecution has intensified in the past 15 years. Persecutors are family members, clan members, Islamist extremists and local administrators. Distribution of the Somali Bible is possible only in refugee camps and outside the country. On Aug. 24, 2009, members of the Islamic militant group al Shabaab killed Ahmed Matan, a recent convert from Islam, near the Kenyan border. Other reports of violence against Christians in Somalia include the February 2009 beheading of two sons of a Christian leader and the videotaped November 2008 beheading of a 25-year-old convert to Christianity. Al Shabaab militia shot to death 46-year-old Mariam Muhina Hussein on Sept. 28 in Marerey village after discovering she had six Bibles. She was the leader of an underground church.