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Somalis hope that one day all these territories can become a unified Somali nation.

The leopard is considered the national symbol of Somalia. Current theory suggests that the Somali originated in the southern Ethiopian highlands and migrated into northern Kenya during the first millennium 100.

The Somali people share a common language, Somali, and most are Muslims of the Sunni sect.

Somalis also live in northern Kenya; in the Ogaden region of eastern Ethiopia; and in Djibouti, to the northwest of Somalia.

Other symbols of Somalia are the five-pointed white star on the Somali flag and the crescent, which represents the new moon and is a universal symbol of the Islamic faith.

Each point of the star represents a land that is home to Somali people: the portion within the national boundaries, once divided into two territories, Italian and British; the Ogaden region of Ethiopia; the Northern Frontier District of Kenya; and Djibouti.

Mogadishu was largely destroyed in the fighting between clans during the civil war of the 1990s.About three-quarters of the people live in rural areas and one-quarter in the cities.Ethnic Somalis make up about 95 percent of the population. In the Afro-Asiatic family of languages, Somali is an Eastern Cushitic language.Two African leopards adorn the national emblem, a five-pointed white star on a light blue shield with a gold border. The Somalis are tall and wiry in stature, with aquiline features, elongated heads, and light brown to black skin. Arabs introduced the Islamic faith to Africa beginning in the seventh century.By the tenth century, Arab trading posts thrived in southern Somalia, along the Indian Ocean.The remainder are Indians, Pakistanis, other Asians, Arabs, Europeans, and groups of mixed ancestry. Somali did not become a written language until January 1973.

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