Introduction / History
The Somali share a common language, a cultural heritage, and adhere to a single faith. The 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 Somalis consider themselves warriors. They are a very individualistic people, sharply divided by clans. Fights often occur between the clans, resulting in many deaths. The results in recent decades have been tragic. Somalia is basically ungovernable, and their economy is in shambles. As many as are able flee to other parts of the world like Sweden.
Where are they located?
There are Somali communities in Borlänge and Stockholm.
What are their lives like?
A good number of Somalis in Sweden are refugees or asylum seekers with a high unemployment rate. But others have settled into Swedish society well. There are Somalis who are distance runners, models, musicians, and even a politician.
What are their beliefs?
Although the Somali are nearly all Shafiite Muslims, numerous beliefs and traditions have been intermingled with their Islamic practices. Some observe the standard Islamic prayers, but Somali women have never worn any kind of traditional Muslim veil. Somali frequently turn to the wadaad (a religious expert) for blessings, charms, and advice in worldly matters.
Though there is not yet a movement to Christ among Somalis in Sweden, one Somali woman, Mon Walters, is a high-profile believer. With the protection of the Swedish government, this woman is able to tell Somalis that Jesus Christ offers what they have always needed.
What are their needs?
Somalis in Sweden have an alarmingly high unemployment rate. They understand that they need to learn Swedish and develop useful job skills for the Swedish economy. Believers can give them the training they need and teach them the ways of Jesus in the process.
* Pray that Muslims will listen to Muslim-background believers, and turn to the God of love.
* Pray that believers will reach the Somali community in Stockholm.
* Pray for them to reach this Somali network in such a way that there will be a church planting movement among the Somalis in Sweden that will extend to Somalia.
Text source: Keith Carey