Sunday, January 26, 2014

World Watch List | Somalia

Each year Open Doors publishes the World Watch List. The World Watch List (WWL) is a ranking of 50 countries where persecution of Christians for religious reasons is worst. First of all, the list covers persecution of Christians of all denominations in the entire country. The focus is on persecution for their faith, not persecution for political, economic, social, ethnic or accidental reasons.

The newest World Watch List was released earlier this month. Each Sunday I will post information on one of the countries listed to provide information about the situation that Christians in this country face as well as to encourage us to join together and pray for those facing persecution around the world.

Will you join me in praying for persecuted Christians in Somalia?

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Somalia

After many years of anarchy, elections last September paved the way for greater stability and growth in Somalia. The decreased violence, coupled with increased successes in the internationally supported fight to drive out al Shabaab Islamist insurgents, greatly improved the atmosphere in Somalia. This did not necessarily bring freedom for the church, but it did bring some welcomed consistency, and created "space" for increased discipleship - albeit still under great secrecy.

However, the atmosphere is changing rapidly.

The newly installed Somali government is increasingly challenged in its efforts to maintain stability. It was expected that President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud would stamp out notorious clan politics, corruption and the "stubborn Islamist insurgency" of al Shabaab. But observers say his inexperienced government lacks funds and also the authority to get the job done. Additionally, in the absence of clear instruction from the provisional constitution, the government is battling to find a way to divide power between the center and the regions.

Al Shabaab, in what they called their "Ramadan Offensive", went to great lengths to warn the government of President Mohamud not to underestimate the insurgents' power and influence. The month of fasting saw several attacks in Mogadishu.

The Somali constitution continues to see Islam as the sole religion in the country, and the Quran and the Sunnah as the main source of the law within the country.
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Map of Somalia

Quick Facts on Somalia

Rank: 2
Previous Rank: 5
Leader: President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud
Government: Federal republic
Religion: Islam
Population: 10.3 million (A few hundred Christians)
Source of persecution: Islamic extremism
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