Introduction / History
The vast majority of Ingush are located in the mountains and plains of the beautiful Caucasus region and in the southeastern portion of the former Soviet Union. However, a number of Ingush also live in Uzyn-Agach, a small settlement in Kazakstan, Central Asia. They have been in Kazakstan since l946, when they were exiled from the Chechen Republic by Joseph Stalin.
Stalin deported all of the Ingush from their homeland to Kazakstan and Siberia as a punishment for their support of the Germans during World War II. Nearly half of their population (about 200,000) died in transit. In 1958, the Ingush were given the opportunity to return to their homeland, but some chose to remain in Kazakstan.
In Kazakstan, the two main languages are Russian and Kazak. The business language of the Ingush is Russian. The Ingush converted to Islam in the 1800's, and are traditionally known for their peaceable nature.
What Are Their Lives Like?
The Ingush are a very formal group of hospitable and courageous citizens. They are a relatively tall, Caucasian people who usually wear Western-style clothing. They enjoy dancing, wood carving, music, and felt-making. Their primary diet consists of grains and dairy products, and they are not opposed to eating fat.
The Ingush are primarily farmers and keepers of livestock, especially sheep. Plains dwellers can produce an abundance of food because of the long growing season and the ample amount of rain. The Ingush who live in the mountains trade eggs and dairy products for the grains that are produced by the plains dwellers.
The summers in Kazakstan are hot and humid, while the winters are cold, yet not harsh. Generally, the men are responsible for defending the people, keeping the livestock, and doing construction work. Women do the gardening, cook, and care for the children.
Households usually consist of nuclear families that are headed by the husbands. The man owns everything under his roof-including the women. However, the Ingush society is tribal by nature. This means that the husband owes allegiance to the head of his clan. If a grievous offense occurs between clans, blood feuds may arise. Clans are grouped into tribes by language distinctions. The head of the tribe governs the decisions made by the other members of the tribe.
Traditionally, Ingush marriages are arranged by the parents. Occasionally, a mother arranges for her daughter to elope. This is very risky for the bride, because if the "groom" changes his mind, the girl may never have another chance to marry. A wife becomes part of her husband's clan through the marriage vow. From that time on, as a rule, the wife never again mentions her parents' names. In traditional Ingush society, marriages were only between members of the same tribe. Today, however, intermarriages with Russians are common. As a result, the Ingush have virtually lost their cultural roots.
What Are Their Beliefs?
The Ingush are very committed to the beliefs of the Islamic religion. Some see the conversion as a political move to counter Russian influence. Regardless, Islam remains the primary religion in Ingush society.
Before converting to Islam, the Ingush were known to be animists (believe that non-human objects have spirits). They held to the belief that one "god" was the head over various other gods. These gods were thought to control different parts of nature. Medieval Christian churches found in the mountains of Kazakstan are the only "true" mark of Christianity among the Ingush.
What Are Their Needs?
Although Kazaks make up less than half of the country's total population, they dominate the other peoples in the area. Because of the undue racial pressure and suppression by the Kazaks, the Ingush desperately need to hear the "Good News" of the Gospel. Effective prayer will open the door.
Since at least 2011, in the name of curbing extremism, religion laws in violation of the freedom of religion guaranteed in the Kazakhstan Constitution require churches to register and various local governments have been banning religious groups that have less than 50 members, confiscating literature, and fining groups that have violated these religion laws. As of October 2012, a third of all religious groups have been reportedly shut down. Unregistered Protestant groups, which seem to be particularly targeted, have been forced underground, but even then the government has sought to crack down on such groups by raiding the homes where these groups have been meeting.
As of March 2013, proposed changes to the criminal code threaten to imprison the leaders of unregistered religious groups. Christians have also been targeted since January 2013 for distributing religious literature on the streets or for otherwise sharing their faith.
* Ask the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers into Kazakstan to share the love of Christ with the Ingush.
* Ask the Holy Spirit to grant wisdom and favor to the missions agency that is focusing on the Ingush.
* Pray that Christian television and radio will be made available in their language.
* Pray that God will give the Ingush believers the boldness to share Christ with their own people.
* Ask God to raise up prayer teams who will begin breaking up the soil through worship and intercession.
* Ask the Lord to bring forth a triumphant Ingush church for the glory of His name!
|Profile Source: Bethany World Prayer Center|