By definition, Persians (also known as Iranians) are an ethnic group native to the region known today as Iran. The Persian language, called Farsi, is part of the Indo-Iranian language family, and is the official language of Iran. Dari, the language of the elite in Afghanistan, is a dialect of modern Farsi.
Persian groups began to settle in the territory that is now Iran as long ago as 1000 B.C. The loosely associated Persian tribes later became a more cohesive political unit under the Achaimenian Dynasty, and their unity soon made them the dominant ethnic group in the region.
For 1,200 years, Persia maintained a culture that became increasingly more complex and rigid, laying the foundation for a successful Arabian conquest in the seventh century. It was not until the Islamic revolution of 1979 that massive changes came both to Iran and to the Persian people.
The vast majority of Persians now live either in Iran or in one of the nearby Middle Eastern countries. However, small Persian communities can also be found in other nations all over the globe, such as Uzbekistan.
According to official figures, around 98 percent of Uzbekistan’s Muslims are Sunni. The Persian Iranian identity centers largely around a Shia form of Islam. Shias are thought to total only a few thousand, mostly ethnic Iranians living in Samarkand and Bukhara. Their Persian language comes with many distinct dialects.
In 2020, the Persian Iranian community faced mounting pressure from Uzbek authorities, who forbid religious groups from forming outside of government approval. Uzbek officials say they aim to target Muslim radicalization. But without understanding the difficult Iranian dialects, they have pursued some Shia gatherings, arresting individuals with Shia audio teachings and literature. The Shia community legally operates and is even represented in the state-approved Spiritual Directorate of Muslims of Uzbekistan yet arrests and detentions are on the rise. Some have been held for long periods without a defense lawyer and have endured abuse. Further evidence of pressure is seen in recent census data. For example, in the 1989 census, nearly 25,000 people were listed as Iranian. However, the Iranian community was not identified at all in the censuses of 2000 and 2013. Even recent surveys designate Iranians as Uzbeks.
Though they are officially Shia Muslims, many Iranians who have left Iran tend towards secularism, especially in the secularized environment of Europe. However, some have had the chance to hear about and be drawn to Jesus Christ.
The Lord is growing His Church in Iran, and many have come to faith in recent years. Pray that the spiritual changes will extend to Iranians in Uzbekistan as well.
* Scripture Prayers for the Persian in Uzbekistan.
* Ask God to strengthen, encourage, and protect formerly Muslim Iranians who have come to faith in Christ. Pray they will reach out to others.
* Pray that God will raise up faithful intercessors who will stand in the gap for the Iranian Diaspora.
* Ask the Lord to call and send out people who are willing to share the love of Christ with Iranians.
* Pray for a powerful movement to Christ among Iranians in Uzbekistan.
|Profile Source: Keith Carey|
|People Name General||Persian|
|People Name in Country||Persian|
|Population this Country||34,000|
|Population all Countries||42,335,000|
|Progress Scale||1 ●|
|Frontier People Group||No|
|GSEC||1 (per PeopleGroups.org)|
|Pioneer Workers Needed||1|
|Alternate Names||Fars; Irani; पर्षियन|
|National Bible Society||Website|
|Persecution Rank||21 (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)|
|Location in Country||Xorazm region; scattered elsewhere. Source: Ethnologue 2020|
|Primary Language||Persian, Iranian (34,000 speakers)|
|Language Code||pes Ethnologue Listing|
|Language Written||Yes ScriptSource Listing|
Primary Language: Persian, Iranian
|Bible Translation ▲||Status (Years)|
|Bible-New Testament||Yes (1815-1979)|
|Possible Print Bibles|
|Forum Bible Agencies|
|National Bible Societies|
|World Bible Finder|
|Resource Type ▲||Resource Name|
|Audio Recordings||Audio Bible teaching (GRN)|
|Audio Recordings||DAVAR Partners recording, complete Bible|
|Audio Recordings||General Ministry Resources|
|Audio Recordings||Online New Testament (FCBH)|
|Audio Recordings||Online Scripture (Talking Bibles)|
|Audio Recordings||Story of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project)|
|Film / Video||God's Story Video|
|Film / Video||Indigitube.tv Video / Animation|
|Film / Video||Jesus Film: view in Persian, Iranian|
|Film / Video||LUMO film of Gospels|
|Film / Video||Magdalena (Jesus Film Project)|
|Film / Video||My Last Day (Jesus Film Project Anime)|
|Film / Video||Rivka (Jesus Film Project)|
|Film / Video||Story of Jesus for Children (JF Project)|
|Film / Video||The Hope Video|
|Film / Video||The Prophets' Story|
|Film / Video||The Savior 0 - The Savior Trailer|
|Film / Video||The Savior 3 - Woman at the Well|
|Film / Video||Zume Project - Making Multiplying Disciples|
|General||Got Questions Ministry|
|Major Religion ▲||Percent|
|Christianity (Evangelical 0.20 %)||
|Other / Small||
|Christian Segments ▲||Percent|