Introduction / History Somalis 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 people share a common language, adhere to a single faith, and share a cultural heritage. Their name is derived from the words, "so maal," which literally means "Go milk a beast for yourself!" To the Somali, this is actually a rough expression of hospitality.
In recent years, Malta has become the place of choice for human traffickers who are smuggling Somalis and others out of Africa. There is a good chance that Somalis will be arriving in Malta for a number of years. Most of these Somalis arriving in Malta are young and desperate to make a new start, though they are actually hoping that Malta will be a step-off point for northern European countries.
Where are they located? Most Somalis live in Somalia or Kenya, but there is a sizable diaspora in other countries like Malta. This has been necessary since Somalia does not have a viable government, so militias have make Somalia a land where power comes from the barrel of a gun, and mercy and justice do not exist.
What are their lives like? Somalis enjoy telling stories and learning history through their poetry. Many times, they will chant folk tales on take walks in the evening.
What are their beliefs? Although the Somalis are nearly all Muslims, numerous beliefs and traditions have been intermingled with their Islamic practices. They chant standard Islamic prayers; however, Somali women have never worn the required veils. Somalis frequently turn to the wadaad (a religious expert) for blessings, charms and advice in worldly matters.
What are their needs? Somalis in Malta need work skills that will help them to make an honest living.
Prayer Points * Pray that the ordeals faced by Somalis will give them a willingness to find new spiritual answers.
* Pray for believers in Malta to make the effort to reach the Somalis for Christ.
* Pray for a Disciple-Making movement among Somalis to begin in Malta and spread to other parts of Europe.