Introduction / History The Somali first appeared in the Horn of Africa around 1200 and began expanding westward and southward about 150 years later. They converted to Islam around 1550, under the influence of Arab traders that had settled along the coast of present-day Somalia. By 1650, they had moved into Ethiopia.
The Somali share a common language, adhere to a single faith, and share a cultural heritage that is an integral part of their lifestyle. Their name is derived from the words, "so maal," which literally mean, "Go milk a beast for yourself!" To the Somali, this is actually a rough expression of hospitality.
Where are they located? The majority of Somalis live in Somalia, Ethiopia, or Kenya, but a small number have made their way to Western countries like Belgium. They are much more numerous in several other European countries than they are in Belgium.
What are their lives like? Most Somalis are in Belgium as asylum seekers or refugees. All of these people are trying to learn the local language and get re-established in a new, foreign land. In some European countries, Somalis have a high unemployment rate.
What are their beliefs? Although the Somali are nearly all Muslims, numerous beliefs and traditions have been intermingled with their Islamic practices. The standard Islamic prayers are usually observed; however, Somali women have never worn the required veils. Somali frequently turn to the wadaad (a religious expert) for blessings, charms and advice in worldly matters.
What are their needs? In Belgium as well as the rest of the world, Somalis need spiritual discernment and a spiritual hunger. On an economic level, they need to learn the local languages and job skills that will help them prosper in the new country.
Prayer Points * Pray for a "Book of Acts" type of movement to Christ among the Somalis in Belgium.
* Pray for the Somali people to understand and embrace that Jesus wants to bless their families and neighborhoods.
* Pray for Holy Spirit anointed believers from the Somali people to change their society from within.
* Pray for a movement in which the Holy Spirit leads and empowers disciples to make more disciples.
* Pray for a movement of Jesus to heal and strengthen Somali communities.