Introduction / History
Iranians came to Bangladesh in the 13th century, mostly for peaceful purposes, though some were in the army. There were teachers and poets, and they gave the people such an admiration for the Persian, the Iranian language, that Persian became the official language of Bengal. Many Persian words became established in Bangladesh language, literature, official documents, and court circles. Iranians continued to exercise influence in Bangladesh until the advent of British rule in the 18th century. As Muslims, Persians share a religious foundation with their neighbors, and though they are a tiny minority, their presence enriches the otherwise ethnically homogenous state.
What Are Their Lives Like?
Although the vast majority of Persians now live either in Iran or in one of the nearby countries, small Persian communities can also be found in many other nations around the world including Bangladesh.
Most are settled in after fleeing Iran’s Revolution over 40 years ago. They are usually professionals.
What Are Their Beliefs?
Prior to the Arab invasions, the Persian religion was Zoroastrianism. This religion taught that there was an eternal struggle between the forces of good and evil. Shia Islam became the national religion of Persia in the sixteenth century, at which time the ulama (clergy) began playing an important role in both the social and political lives of the people. Today, most Iranians are officially Shia Muslims of the Ithna Ashari branch. However, the Iranians who have migrated to Bangladesh are usually disillusioned with state-enforced spirituality, especially in light of the hypocrisy which they saw in the Iranian government. For this reason, most are either Shia Muslim in name only or they are secularized.
What Are Their Needs?
Their view of God has been twisted by what they saw in Iran. Iranians in Bangladesh need the chance to hear that Jehovah is a loving God who wants them to have life to the full (Jn. 10:10). They also need loving, patient ambassadors for Christ to introduce them to the One who offers life to the full.
* Scripture Prayers for the Persian in Bangladesh.
* Pray for a Disciple Making Movement to flourish among Iranians all across South Asia.
* Ask the Lord to call and send out people who are willing to share the love of Christ with Iranians.
* Pray that God will raise up faithful intercessors who will stand in the gap for the Iranians.
* Ask God to strengthen, encourage, and protect formerly Muslim Iranians who have come to faith in Christ. Pray they will reach out to others.