The Kurdish of Kyrgyzstan
Kurdistan, the traditional homeland of the Kurds, was a mountainous region in southwestern Asia. This area included parts of Iran, Iraq, Syria, Turkey, and the former Soviet Union. The Kurds arrived in Kurdistan during the 1500's and were used by the Persian shahs to guard their eastern border.
In the second half of the 1700's, the Kurds slowly moved westward as far as present-day Azerbaijan. During this expansion, Kurdish villages were established throughout the region. Today, there are a number of compact Kurd settlements in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan.
What Are Their Lives Like?
The Kurd were hard workers on the Soviet collective (community) farms, but they also had their own herds and allotments of land. Even before glasnost (openness) within the Soviet Union, there was a measure of cultural freedom for the Kurd. Because they were a small minority, they posed little threat.
The Soviet Kurd are among the most prosperous citizens of the former USSR. This is especially noticeable in the quality of their dwellings, which are modern houses made of stone or brick, usually equipped with central heating, and sometimes having telephones. Villages tend to have broad well-lit streets, linked to the cities by fairly good roads. They have their own schools, school books, a printing press, and various social comforts.
Glasnost and the subsequent independence of the republics have contributed to an overall revival of Kurdish identity and expression. There is a recognition of the repression that occurred during Stalin's rule, and a re-awakened national awareness. As a result, many former USSR citizens are declaring themselves to be Kurds, as they rediscover their ethnic origin.
What Are Their Beliefs?
The Kurd keep the five essential duties of all Muslims: affirming that Allah is the only god, and Mohammed is his prophet; praying five times daily; giving alms; fasting during Ramadan; and making a pilgrimage to Mecca. Nevertheless, there are still traces of an earlier, pagan faith that occasionally surfaces, among the Kurd, especially in the rural areas. Some people there still believe in jinnis (tiny, human-like evil spirits) and demons. Elements of animal worship can also be found.
Until recently, mullahs (trained Muslims holding official posts) acted as village witch doctors, performing ceremonies and reciting spells to drive out madness or to cure sickness.
What Are Their Needs?
The Kurd have long been a people in search of national identity. They need to know that their true identity can only be found in Jesus. Prayer for their spiritual eyes to be opened is critical if they are to find salvation.Prayer Points
Latest estimates from the World Evangelization Research Center.
© Copyright 1997
Bethany World Prayer Center
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