in the greater toronto area
The hub of the estimated 61,260 Somalis in the Greater Toronto Area is the Rexdale area of Etobicoke, directly east of the airport. There, in what is dubbed Little Mogadishu, Somalis experience low-paying jobs, feelings of discrimination, poverty, and insufficient youth programs to positively influence the second generation. To counter these challenges, Somali leaders actively work for change. The Somali Canadian Association of Etobicoke provides information and referral services for housing, legal assistance, and health care, orientation and counseling for Somali newcomers, and a youth entrepreneurship program. The Somali Worker’s Network fights for basic rights of Somali workers, including fair wages and safe working environments. Some members of the community, like Ahmed Hussen, have even risen to the highest levels of influence in Canada. At age 16, Ahmed came to Toronto as a Somali refugee. Later, he attended law school and entered government service, first as a member of the national parliament before eventually becoming Canada’s immigration minister.
Statistics Canada 2016 estimated 25,550 people in the Greater Toronto Area with Somali ethnic origin. It is widely believed, however, that census counts grossly underestimate the size of the Somali population. A federal report released under the Access to Information Act estimated 150,000 ethnic Somalis live in Canada, much higher than the 62,550 2016 Statistic Canada Ethnic Origin Somali estimate. Using the ethnic origin estimates, 40.84% of Somalis in Canada live in the Greater Toronto Area. If using the likelier estimate of 150,000 Somalis in Canada, 40.84% equals an estimated 61,260 Somalis living in the Greater Toronto Area. To compare with other cities, the Somali ancestry number in Minneopolis/St. Paul is over twice that of the Greater Toronto Area.
Several Somali rappers including K’naan, as well as R & B Somali artist Amaal, have been raised in and perform in Toronto. Most of them are second-generation Canadians whose families were part of the Somali diaspora. Their lyrics combine a desire to be true to their roots, but also to connect with their local culture.
There are over 70 permanent mosques and many more musallahs (prayer areas) in the Greater Toronto Area where Somali Muslims go for prayer. The Khalid Mosque, which claims over 20,000 members, is affiliated with the Somali Islamic Society of Canada.
Most Somalis in Toronto lack a personal relationship with Jesus, the One who could best give them hope, peace, and strength as they face challenges in life. Pray that God provides light-bearers in Toronto to point Somalis to Jesus.
Unreached people groups can also be viewed as "hidden" people groups (i.e., they are largely unnoticed and unaffected by the global Body of Christ). In the prayer gallery section below, as well as through the Google Earth prayerwalk tool, you can visualize these hidden people group communities. By doing so, we pray God gives you insight into how to pray through what you see. By scrolling through major points of interest in the prayer gallery section, pray for people you see, and pray that the peace and hope of Jesus will become known to people who frequent these places. Through the Google Earth prayerwalk tool linked at the bottom of the page, you can virtually prayerwalk through the community, praying "on site with insight." You could also take the route and points of interest from that tool and save them to your "Google Maps" to prayerwalk in person. Allow the following three steps to guide your prayers using these tools, and try prayerwalking with another person or small group! God hears the voice of His people, and He responds to our prayers!
Praise God for who He is. Thank Him for His blessings and salvation that is extended to all peoples. Praise and thank Him for appointing the time and boundaries of this people group's presence in North America so that they might seek Him and find Him (Acts 17:26). Pray Scriptures that come to mind about His glory being made known among all peoples and nations (e.g., Rev 7:9-10).
Luke 10:2 says “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest." Pray for God's laborers to share Christ's love through hospitality to this people group. Pray for laborers among this community to establish loving relationships and proclaim the gospel. Pray for Christians to emerge from within this people group who will reach their friends and family members.
Most members of unreached people group communities remain unreached because they have failed to hear the gospel in ways they can understand. Others have heard the gospel but have many barriers to overcome before receiving the gospel. Pray that this community will understand the gospel. Pray for God to draw them to Jesus and remove the barriers that keep them from salvation in Christ.
Khalid Bin Al-Walid Mosque
The Khalid Bib Al-Walid Mosque is owned by the Somali Islamic Society of Canada. The mosque was founded in 1990 and claims 20,000 members. Its services include prayer times, complete funeral services, Quran classes, free Iftar during Ramadan, Eid prayer, youth programs, and marriage counseling and officiating.
A predominantly Somali institution and mosque. It’s focused on teaching the Qur’an and Shariah and helping its students propogate Islam. Associated with the centre is the Al-Hikmah Academy, which seeks “to disseminate the purity and essence of the Islamic Sciences.” They produce pamphlets, a quarterly newsletter, and other resources to help Muslims propogate Islam.
Visit this page to learn general information about Somali communities in North America and their religious beliefs. Also, discover resources to help share Jesus with them in their language.
Prayerwalk through some of the main Somali restaurants, places of worship, and businesses in the Greater Toronto Area using a tool we developed in Google Earth. You could also do a prayerwalk in person using the same points of interest.