Profile Source: Bethany World Prayer Center
Introduction / History
The Ingush are a Muslim people who live primarily in the Chechen Republic of the former Soviet Union. Although closely related to the Chechen in history and culture, they are separate in their language and family descent.
Life for the Ingush has changed dramatically in the past sixty years. After World War II, Joseph Stalin deported all of the Ingush from their homeland to Kazakstan and Siberia as a punishment for their support of the Germans. Nearly half of their population (about 200,000) died in transit. In 1958, they were allowed to return, but found their land had been taken.
The Ingush originally settled among the plains and mountains. Today, they usually live in scattered villages or towns. Discrimination from those who are now living in their homeland has made life difficult. As a result, many have moved into the city of Grozny, which has been ravaged by the recent war with Russia.
What are Their Lives Like?
The Ingush are farmers and keepers of livestock, especially sheep. Plains dwellers can produce an abundance of food because of the long growing season. Those living in the mountains trade eggs and dairy products for the grains produced by the people dwelling in the plains. The climate provides ample rain for the crops. Grains and diary products are their primary sources of food. The men defend the people, keep the livestock, and do construction work. Women do the gardening, cook, and care for the children.
The Ingush are a very formal group of people who are also known for their refinement, courage, and hospitality. Having converted to Islam in the early nineteenth century, they are traditionally known not to attack unless provoked. However, should there be a grievous offense between clans (whose membership is based on family ties), they are known to carry on blood feuds.
Households (mostly nuclear families), are run by the husband. He owns everything under his roof-including the women. Marriages are usually 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.
Membership in a family is traced through the father. In turn, the family has membership in a clan. These clans are then grouped by language distinctions into tribes. Individuals have responsibilities to each level of kinship. Although marriages are not permitted between members of the same clan, partners must be of the same tribe. A wife becomes part of her husband's clan upon marriage and, from that time on, as a rule, never mentions her parents' names again.
The Ingush are a relatively tall Caucasian people who usually wear Western-style clothing. They enjoy music, dancing, wood carving, weaving, and felt-making.
The Ingush have maintained their cultural identity through their families and religion. The former lost much of its importance because of intermarriage with non-Ingush, while the latter became stronger through the persecutions of the communists.
What are Their Beliefs?
Like the Chechen, the Ingush are committed to the beliefs of Islam. While some say their conversion was a political move to counter Russian influence, it is, without a doubt, their religion today. Before converting, they were known to be animists. They looked to one spirit who served as the head over various other gods in nature.
What are Their Needs?
The recent war in Chechenya has greatly affected the Ingush, and the struggle for independence from Russia continues. With only a few known Ingush believers, much prayer is required to see the Gospel effectively reach these precious people.
* Ask the Holy Spirit to grant wisdom and favor to missions agencies which focus on the Ingush.
* Pray that God will prepare the hearts of the Ingush to receive the Gospel message.
* Pray for the effective use of the Jesus film and other evangelistic tools in the Ingush language.
* Pray that God will give the Ingush believers 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!
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