Somalia

Muslims (Sunnis) 99.8%, Christians and others 0.2%

Somalia has lacked an effective central government for decades. The ensuing anarchy enabled extremist Islamist groups to impose harsh Sharia forms of death, including death for apostasy, blasphemy, and other expressions of belief and expression.

Articles 3 (1) and 4 (1) of the Somali Constitution state that the religious law of Sharia is the highest law of the nation. The prescribed punishment for apostasy is the death penalty.

There have been numerous reports of executions of people for apostasy, especially Muslims who have converted to Christianity. However, the reported executions were carried out by extra-state Islamist groups and local mobs, rather than after the defendant was tried in a Somali court.

Especially in areas controlled by the Al-Shabaab militia, apostasy is forbidden and punishable by death.

“The terror group al-Shabaab killed, mutilated or harassed individuals suspected of converting to Islam or those who did not follow the group’s religious edicts. During the year, al-Shabaab was responsible for killing civilians, government officials, members of parliament, Somali forces and police, as well as troops from the contributing countries of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM). On 26 October 2016, Pro-ISIS fighters occupied a small coastal town in Puntland and proclaimed Sharia until the Puntland security forces drove them out in early December 2016.

There was strong social pressure to abide by Sunni Islamic traditions. The conversion from Islam to another religion remained socially unacceptable in all areas. Conversion suspects were harassed by members of their community. “(U.S.St.Dep.)

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