The Northern Kurd of Azerbaijan
The Kurd of Azerbaijan live in the beautiful Caucasus Mountains, which are located in southeastern Russia between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. They originated in modern Turkey and Iran. Large numbers of Kurds arrived in the Caucasus during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. They were seeking refuge from the wars between Ottoman Turkey and Tsarist Russia. Unlike the Kurds of nearby Armenia and Georgia, who are mainly Yezidi Muslims, most of the Northern Kurd of Azerbaijan are Sunni Muslims.
What Are Their Lives Like?
While the Kurds in Turkey are relatively poor, Kurds living in the former Soviet countries are among the most prosperous citizens. They face no discrimination, and many even hold high political offices. They enjoy the use of utilities, roads, housing, and medical facilities that would be considered “luxurious? in their homeland of Kurdistan. The Kurd of Azerbaijan are also more educated than Kurds of other countries. Consequently, illiteracy disappeared from among them in the 1930’s.
The daily diet of most Kurds centers around bread, dairy products, dates, tea, and meat. The wealthier Kurds have a more varied diet and consume more rice, meats, and fruits. In accordance with their Islamic beliefs, the Kurd are forbidden to eat pork and drink alcohol.
Any difficulties in Kurdish society are camouflaged by family ties, religious beliefs, and tribal traditions. These factors still shape the Kurds? ideas, despite the almost total collapse of their tribal structures. The Kurdish women in Azerbaijan enjoy more freedom than the neighboring Arabs, Turks, and Persians. Although they are still modest in behavior, the Kurdish women are not required to wear a veil and are not particularly shy of strange men. Some women have even been able to engage in politics within their tribes and have become very successful.
Although the distinct Kurdish communities within the former USSR are separated by religion, places of origin, and distance, many Kurds still dream of a united Kurdistan. Customs and traditional dress have been maintained in many areas, and the Kurds have been encouraged to use their national language. Also, nearby Armenia has become a cultural center for Kurds. There are radio broadcasts in the Kurmanji dialect and there is a Kurdish publishing house.
What Are Their Beliefs?
What Are Their Needs?
The New Testament has already been translated into Kurmanji; however, there are currently no Christian radio or television broadcasts being aired in this region. No missions agencies are presently working among this people group. Consequently, there is only one known Northern Kurd believer living in Azerbaijan.Prayer Points
Latest estimates from the World Evangelization Research Center.
© Copyright 1997
Bethany World Prayer Center
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