Somali in Australia

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People Name: Somali
Country: Australia
10/40 Window: No
Population: 15,000
World Population: 26,948,600
Primary Language: Somali
Primary Religion: Islam
Christian Adherents: 0.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: Yes
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Somali
Affinity Bloc: Horn of Africa Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

A "failed state" is a political body that has disintegrated to a point in which basic conditions and responsibilities of a sovereign government no longer function properly. The nation of Somalia located on the northeast Horn of Africa is the classic example of this. Warlords and tribal leaders rule different portions of the country. They are often at war with one or more factions. The United Nations and many non-governmental agencies have donated millions of dollars of food and other aid to Somalia. Unfortunately, the food and aid frequently do not get to the people who need it. Many Somalis have left their nation and now live in 28 countries all over the world. Most Somalis still live in Somalia and nearby Ethiopia. As a result of the chaos and extreme poverty in Somalia thousands of its citizens have fled to peaceful and prosperous Australia. The Somali share a common language, adhere to a single faith, and share a cultural heritage that is an integral part of their nomadic lifestyle. Their name is derived from the words, "so maal," which literally mean, "Go milk a beast for yourself!" To the Somali, this is actually a rough expression of hospitality.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Coming to a modern Western country is a shock to the Somalis so fortunately to gain entrance. Learning English, finding suitable housing and getting their children in school are their first priorities. The typical Somali adult must learn new job skills so they can survive in Australia. He or she is willing to take any job that puts food on the table. Low skilled jobs in construction, factories, sanitation, and security are often their first jobs. One of the skills the Somalis do have is taking care of animals. Australia is known for being a producer of beef, mutton, leather, and wool. Living in an apartment in Sydney or Melbourne and working in a factory is a huge change for the Somalis. Somalis enjoy telling stories and learning history through their poetry. Many times they will chant folk tales on walks in the evening. Anyone who wants to be successful in Australia has to learn to speak, read and write English. Many of the Somalis are illiterate or semi-literate when they come to Australia. The Somalis face many challenges in adapting to the modern western ways found in Australia.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Although Somali people are Sunni, the largest branch of Islam, numerous beliefs and traditions have been intermingled with their Islamic practices. The standard Islamic prayers are usually observed; however, Somali women have never worn the required veils. Somalis frequently turn to the wadaad (a religious expert) for blessings, charms and advice in worldly matters. The Somali people are Sunni, the largest branch of Islam. They try to obey the teachings of the Koran and the prophet Muhammad. They believe that by following the Five Pillars of Islam that they will attain heaven when they die. However, Allah, the supreme God of the universe, determines who enters paradise. Sunnis pray five times a day facing Mecca. They fast the month of Ramadan. They attend mosque services on Friday. If a Muslim has the means, he or she will make a pilgrimage to Mecca once in his or her lifetime. Muslims are also prohibited from drinking alcohol, eating pork, lying and stealing. The two main holidays for Sunni Muslims are Eid al Fitr, the breaking of the monthly fast and Eid al Adha, the celebration of Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son to Allah.

What Are Their Needs?

The Somalis coming to Australia have tremendous needs. Finding housing and daily food is a challenge. Australian believers can help meet the physical needs of the newly arrived Somalis. Christians can help the Somalis learn English and get a job. Churches can sponsor families. Most of all the Somalis need to hear and understand the good news about Isa or Jesus. He alone can forgive their sins and grant them eternal life.

Prayer Points

Pray that many Somalis would come to personally know Jesus Christ. Pray for Somali believers, who are greatly despised by their people. Ask God to touch the hearts of believers in Australia so that they would be willing to share God's love with the Somalis. Ask the Lord to raise up Christian teachers who will work among the Somali and share Christ's love with them. Ask God to grant favor and wisdom to agencies and churches focusing on the Somali. Pray that the Lord raises up a Disciple Making Movement among the Somalis in Australia in this decade.

Text Source:   Joshua Project