Somali in Canada

Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

The Somali first appeared in the Horn of Africa around 1200 and began expanding westward and southward about 150 years later. They converted to Islam around 1550, under the influence of Arab traders that had settled along the coast of present-day Somalia. By 1650, they had moved into Ethiopia. The Somali share a common language, adhere to a single faith, and share a cultural heritage. 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. There are a large number of Somalis in Canada. As Somalia entered a new phase of chaos in the 1990s, more came to Canada. Some of them came from the United States. In addition to Toronto, many Somalis live in Ottawa while some live in Edmonton and other places. The Somalis in Canada speak Somali, English and French.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The daily stresses of navigating through a new culture while seeking to retain and treasure your heritage make it difficult to become a part of the host community. Many Somalis have found it hard to get work even though some are qualified. Language problems have been one cause. The Canadian government, along with Somali organizations in Canada, are helping young Somalis with work experience, training and other schemes to find work. There are Somali organizations in Canada to help Somalis in Canada. The Canadian Somali Congress works with national and local authorities. Some Somalis have gone back to Somalia. Somali Canadians have helped in the rebuilding of Somalia.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Sunni Islam is the religion of the Somalis. Very few dare to stray from the Islamic fold. Very often, they view Jesus as a "foreign god," and a desire to follow his way of life is seen as an uncritical acceptance of another culture as well as a denial of one’s heritage.

What Are Their Needs?

Somalis in Canada often need work training so they can adapt to the new environment. Those who lived in a war zone might need trauma counseling. Loving Christians can help with these needs and gain a hearing.

Prayer Points

Pray for spiritual hunger and openness among Somali Muslims in North America. Pray that God will give Somalis dreams and visions leading them to Jesus Christ. Pray that Canadian Christians will help lead the Somalis into a movement to Christ.

Scripture Prayers for the Somali in Canada.

Profile Source:   Joshua Project  

Additional Info
Global Prayer Digest: 2008-05-17
Global Prayer Digest: 2009-05-05
Link Up Africa
Praying for Somali
People Name General Somali
People Name in Country Somali
Pronunciation soh-MAH-lee
Population this Country 102,000
Population all Countries 24,795,000
Total Countries 24
Indigenous No
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group Yes
GSEC 1  (per
Pioneer Workers Needed 2
Alternate Names Issa; Ogaden; Sab; Shabelle; सोमाली
People ID 14983
ROP3 Code 109392
Country Canada
Region America, North and Caribbean
Continent North America
10/40 Window No
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Location in Country Toronto, Edmonton   Source:  Global Gates 2021
Country Canada
Region America, North and Caribbean
Continent North America
10/40 Window No
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Location in Country Toronto, Edmonton.   Source:  Global Gates 2021

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Primary Language Somali (102,000 speakers)
Language Code som   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Somali (102,000 speakers)
Language Code som   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Somali

Primary Language:  Somali

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible-Portions Yes  (1915-1935)
Bible-New Testament Yes  (1972-1976)
Bible-Complete Yes  (1979-2008)
Bible-NT Audio Online
Bible-NT Text Online
Possible Print Bibles
World Bibles
Forum Bible Agencies
National Bible Societies
World Bible Finder
Virtual Storehouse
Resource Type Resource Name
Audio Recordings Audio Bible teaching
Audio Recordings DAVAR Partners recording, Old Testament
Audio Recordings Online New Testament
Audio Recordings Online New Testament
Audio Recordings Recorded oral Bible
Audio Recordings Story of Jesus audio
Film / Video God's Story video
Film / Video I Against My Brother
Film / Video Video / Animation
Film / Video Jesus Film: view in Somali
Film / Video Magdalena video
Film / Video Story of Jesus for Children
Film / Video The Prophets' Story
Film / Video Walk with Jesus video
General Biblical answers to your questions
General Four Spiritual Laws
General Gospel resources links
General Walk with the Prophets and meet the Messiah
General Zúme Training
Mobile App Download audio Bible app as APK file
Primary Religion: Islam
Religion Subdivision: Sunni
Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.07 %)
0.07 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
0.00 %
99.90 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.03 %
0.00 %
Christian Segments Percent
0.0 %
0.0 %
0.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
100.0 %
Roman Catholic
0.0 %
Photo Source Copyrighted © 2022  MarosMatousek - Shutterstock  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
Profile Source Joshua Project  
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Read more