Saturday, May 25, 2013

Religion and Religious Beliefs

Somalia’s officially recognized religion is Islam; the national legislation even takes its source from the Sharia and every law that is inconsistent with it is deemed impossible to be enacted... or so it is believed. The new government has actuallyinstituted some changes that are viewed as contrary to Islamic precepts by some religious figures. The government then took drastic measures and persecuted some of those figures that were opposed to the changes which resulted in some sort of accommodation and resignation of the remaining religious leaders.The fact is that after the 1969 revolution and the introduction of scientific socialism, the religious leaders’ status changed quite a bit and their influence decreased noticeably.
Since Somalia, contrarily to the neighboring countries, is neither adherent of Christianity nor any other indigenous faith, it has set a further distance between them and distinctions were reinforced. 

Although the majority of the population is Muslim, not all of them are Sunnite; there are those that follow the Shafi’i school of Islamic jurisprudence, others that are adherents of the Shia and others of Sufism –this last one is particularly well-established with many orders and lots of zawiya. 
In the last decades, however, Salafism has known quite the development in the area. 

Christians, on the other hand, constitute the minority of the population–with a rate that’s as low as 0.01% – and amount to about 1000 practitioners in Somalia. In the whole country, there is only one diocese which is the diocese of Mogadishu.

Those rates are easily explained when one takes the time to delve into the history of Somalia. The fact is that not too long after the hijra, more exactly in the late 800’s, Muslims who were seeking refuge came to the northern Somali coast and that is how Islam was introduced to the area.
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