Introduction / History
It is believed that the U.K. has more Somalis than anywhere else in Europe. The first Somali immigrants were merchants and seamen who came in the 1800s. A few arrived in World War II with the Royal Navy and remained. In the last two decades of the twentieth century, many Somalis came to the U.K. and they make the most numbers of the present Somali population.
By the end of the last century, about 53 per cent of applications in Europe from Somali asylum seekers were made in the U.K. Many of them came from Ethiopia and other neighboring countries. Many were women and children as the men had been killed or remained in Somalia to fight in the civil war. (Maybe the problems caused by the war could lead some to Jesus Christ).
Further migration of Somalis to the U.K. was from the Netherlands and also from Denmark and Sweden. Many wanted to be with families and friends. They are Muslims with the majority being Sunni Muslims. They have some mosques.
Among the Somalis in the U.K. are sports people like Mo Farah the double Olympic gold medalist at 5000 and 10000 meters in the 2012 Olympic games. There are film makers and local politicians among them. Some have their own businesses such as internet cafes, restaurants, hairdressing salons and travel agencies.
Most Somalis in the U.K. live in London, others in Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester, Leicester, Sheffield, Liverpool and also in Cardiff (in Wales). Lesser numbers are in other cities and large towns in the U.K.
The main language of the Somalis in the U.K. is Somali. Some speak Arabic and English is spoken also. Though they are generally well educated, many are semi-skilled and unskilled workers. Most Somalis live in rented accommodation. In 2011, the Council of Somali organizations came into being to represent the community institutions living here. Khat chewing is enjoyed with many Somalis and is causing concern as it could cause health problems.
Most Somalis in the U.K. listen for news and information on the BBC Somali Service. They listen to it on satellite radio and on the internet.
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