|Islam in Somalia|
99% of Somalis are Muslim. Early Muslims fled to Somalia to seek protection with the Ethiopian Emperor. Islam spread through trade. There were several migrations of Arabs and Mogadishu became the center of Islam in East Africa. |
Many Muslim states were established and from the 1600’s they waged war against Christian Ethiopia. Somali states and ports had lucrative trade with Arabia, India, Italy, Persia, Egypt, Portugal and China. Somali merchants established a colony in Mozambique to mine gold. Mogadishu, by the 15th century, was a large city with houses five storeys high, palaces and Musjids.
Giraffes, zebras and incense were exported to China, thus influencing the Chinese language with Somali. In the 16th century Ottoman and Somali fleets attacked Portuguese colonies in southeast Africa driving them out from several. In the 1800’s European colonialism inspired Somali Sheikh Hassan to begin one of the longest colonial resistance wars against the British, French and Italians.
After independence in 1960 a socialist government replaced Arabic script with Latin for writing Somali. Ulama were executed and Islamic organizations banned. In 1977 Somalia waged a war for Ogaden, a Somali area occupied by Ethiopia. Since 1991 Somalia has experienced civil war. The Islamic Courts Union established control over much of Somali in 2006, offering education and health care and stopped piracy and the drug trade, but were halted by Ethiopian troops.
Now Islamist Al-Shabaab controls much of the country. Many Somali refugees live in Europe, America and South Africa. Islamic education was very strong before the civil war and many Somalis are Huffaaz.
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