Since the formal arrival of Christian missionaries in Somalia in the 19th century, the Somali Christians hovered around 2-3% of the population reaching its highest peak in 1940’s because of intense evangelism ministry by Roman Catholics among the Somali Bantus in southern Somalia.
A recent report released by the Mogadishu based Liibaan Research Center (LRC) states that for the first time in recent history, Protestant church membership has hit 200,0000 in Islamic Somalia. While most Somali Christians are based in southern Somalia, a sizable Christian community is thriving in the northern part of the country.
LRC, Somalia’s only Christian polling center, interviewed 95 house-church pastors and 161 evangelists from the Protestant wing of the church concluding that 200,000 Somali Christians regularly attend underground house-churches throughout Somalia.
According to the vice president of LRC, there are an estimated 19,000 Protestant Somali Christians who do not attend house-churches and over 51,000 nominal Christians who identify themselves as Catholics though they do not attend any house-churches at all. A Muslim leader of a local organization that advocates for the Somali Bantus described the professing Somali Catholics as “fans of the Catholic church than actual adherents of the faith.” He continued to say that “the vast majority of these 51,0000 “Catholics” claim the faith because of their parents, grandparents or great grandparents who were actual members of the Catholic church in Somalia.”
While the Protestant church in Somalia thrived in the Somali civil war, the Catholic church in Somalia has collapsed because of the insecurity in the country.
A Somali church leader based in the coastal town of Merca stated that the growth of the church in Somalia is coming from a general dissatisfaction with Islam which is widely spreading in the Muslim country. The church leader said, “I have personally discipled 190 new Christians in the last five months."
Somalia, a lawless country in the Horn of Africa, is a base for the Al Qaeda affiliated Islamist group, Al Shabab, which controls large swathes of the country. ISIS also has bases in the northern regions of Somalia, especially in the Galgala mountains.