Introduction / History Ancient pyramids, mausoleums, ruined cities, and stone walls found in Somalia are evidence of an ancient sophisticated civilization that once thrived in the Somali peninsula. Archaeological excavations and research in Somalia show that this civilization enjoyed a lucrative trading relationship with Ancient Egypt and Mycenaean Greece, as early as 2000BC.
Somalia has a war-torn history to this day. The people have suffered beyond words, and many are doing whatever they can to go to Norway and other safer lands.
Where are they located? Somalis make up Oslo's third-largest immigrant group, and are one of the largest refugee groups coming into Norway. Many are working hard to be accepted as Norwegian citizens. Somali-Norwegians are characterized by a strong commitment to participation in and belonging to the greater community.
What are their lives like? Some Somalis in Norway are poor, others are highly paid. Some are highly educated, others are illiterate. Some have been in Norway for two years, others for 20.
About 80 per cent of Somalis are under 40 years of age, and 80 percent of second-generation Somali-Norwegian children are under 10. The youth aren't seen as Norwegians, but no longer identify solely as Somali. Education is vital for integration, yet Somali students have an above average drop-out rate and a higher absentee rate than both the general population and other immigrant groups. Language and cultural difficulties make it hard for parents to help children with their studies.
Well over half of Somalis in Norway do not have jobs. Many Somali immigrants lack the qualifications to find good work. There are few job opportunities for unskilled workers in Norway. Processing of asylum claims delays job hunting. Cultural reasons are partly to blame for the low number of women in the work force, especially mothers of young children.
What are their beliefs? Islam was introduced between 700-900BC to the northern Somali coast early on from the Arabian Peninsula. The early persecuted Muslims fled to various places in the region, including the city of Zeila in modern-day northern Somalia. Somalis were among the first people on the continent to embrace Islam. With very few exceptions, Somalis are Muslims, the majority belonging to the Sunni branch.
The entire Bible and many other Christian resources are available in the Somali language. The JESUS Film and an audio Bible is available in Norwegian for those who are fluent in the local language.
What are their needs? It is possible to become so disillusioned with live in Norway that they give up on being included in mainstream society or finding work. Many Somalis believe they have no hope. It is not good for a society when a whole group feels excluded. What will be the consequences?
Prayer Points * Pray that Somali people in Norway will develop a true spiritual hunger for their Savior.
* Pray that the few true believers will discover the joy of laying down their lives for those who do not know the truth that sets people free.
* Pray for strong discipleship movements among the Somalis in Norway.
* Pray for workers to go to Norway to seek out and bless the Somalis.