Somalia, which has suffered through civil war for more than two decades, is considered the most corrupt country in the world. A new government inaugurated in August 2012 appears to be slowly gaining ground against a longstanding insurgency. Sunni Islam is the official religion, and there is no official religious freedom. In 2011, Somalia’s problems were exacerbated by the worst drought in six decades, leaving millions on the verge of starvation. Relative stability exists in the two semi-autonomous regions of Somaliland and Puntland.
Somalia has a history of fierce persecution against Christians. In 2009, the parliament approved implementation of Shariah law nationwide. The government has also banned proselytizing. Christian converts from Islam are estimated at fewer than 200 people. Most Somali Christians are secret believers who worship in house churches. The radical Islamic group al- Shabab has vowed to eradicate all Somali Christians, and they have especially targeted converts from Islam. The group has executed dozens of Christians in the past five years. In February 2012, al-Shabab leaders announced their alliance with al-Qaida. There have been several instances of al-Shabab adherents targeting Somali Christians across borders in countries like Kenya. Conversion to Christianity is not illegal in Somalia, but it is socially unacceptable. In addition to the Islamic extremists, persecutors include family members, clan members and local administrators. Even Somaliland has imprisoned some Christians and expelled others.