The Uyghur are a Turkic people whose home is primarily in northwestern China. Their origins can be traced back to Turkic nomads who lived in Siberia. They became independent of the Turks in 744 AD, but they were forced to leave their homeland in 840 AD. It was then that most of them immigrated to western China, where in modern times they have resided in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. China has chosen to use “Xinjiang” to designate the Uyghur region. The Uyghur people, though, prefer to use “East Turkestan” as the name of the area where they have lived for centuries. There is significance to these names. The Chinese name implies that it is part of China. East Turkestan implies that it is separate, and it emphasizes their Turkic roots. Uyghur literally means "allied. " For centuries, the Uyghur were an important link between China and the rest of the world. They lived along the legendary Silk Road and worked as caravan drivers transporting Chinese goods. The strategic locations of their homes allowed them to be the "middlemen" between East Asia and Europe. Significant diasporic communities of Uyghurs can be found in the Central Asian countries of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan. Smaller communities live in other countries, including Afghanistan, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Norway, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, the Netherlands, Turkey, and the United States. The Uyghur of Central Asia play an important role in the lives of the Chinese Uyghur who are struggling to gain greater freedom. For example, they often help by smuggling needed materials into China. In China, there is evidence of much hostility, bitterness, hurt, and mistrust between the Uyghur and the predominant Han Chinese.
Some have fled to Afghanistan, where they are in a vulnerable position. The Taliban rulers of Afghanistan have emotional and to some degree, cultural ties with the Uyghurs of China. But the Chinese government has much economic leverage over Afghanistan. That leverage will weigh heavily on the Uyghurs in Afghanistan. Ironically, many of the Uyghurs in Afghanistan have never been to China. One of them told a BBC News reporter in August 2021 that he fears the Taliban, but he fears China more. Central Asian governments that have less economic clout than that of China have been known to side with the Chinese government when it comes to Uyghur issues. There have been times when pressure by the Chinese government has resulted in Uyghurs in Central Asian nations being sent to China where Uyghurs are persecuted. Traditionally, the Uyghur were shepherds and today many in Afghanistan still are. They prefer to eat meat and dairy products at every meal, that is not always possible. The Uyghur love to drink tea with milk. Their staple foods also include noodles and round bread made from maize or wheat flour. In rural village communities, the typical Uyghur house is square. It includes skylights and a flat roof that is used for drying grains and fruits. Bed frames, built low to the ground, are made of bricks so that they can be heated. They are used for both sleeping and sitting. Wall carpets are often used to decorate the home. Singing and dancing are important social activities among the Uyghurs. They play stringed, wind, and percussion instruments. The Mukam ("Twelve Great Melodies") have been part of Uyghur culture for many centuries.
Sunni Islam has been the dominant religion of the Uyghur since the tenth century. In the past, they were Muslim in name only; however, there is some renewal that is currently taking place among them as they continue in their Sunni Islamic faith.
There are probably no Uyghurs in Afghanistan who follow Christ. As Muslims, they are taught that Christianity poses a threat to their faith. The Bible has already been translated into the Uyghur language; Christian radio broadcasts and the JESUS Film are also available. In spite of these efforts, the Uyghurs remain basically untouched with the gospel. The eyes of the Uyghurs need to be opened to the saving truth of Jesus Christ. They need to experience the love and grace of the one, true God. This is also the best way for the Uyghur people to flourish as a unique culture under the God who loves all the varied peoples of the world.
* Scripture Prayers for the Uyghur in Afghanistan.
Ask God to raise up prayer teams who will break up the soil through faithful intercession. Pray that the Lord will call missionaries to go to the Uyghurs in Afghanistan. Pray for the Holy Spirit to anoint gospel radio broadcasts for Uyghurs and give them hearts willing to listen. Pray for effectiveness of the JESUS Film among the Uyghurs. Pray the Lord raises up strong local churches among the Uyghurs leading to unstoppable movements to Christ.
|Profile Source: JoshuaProject|
|People Name General||Uyghur|
|People Name in Country||Uyghur|
|Population this Country||3,500|
|Population all Countries||12,453,000|
|Progress Scale||1 ●|
|Frontier People Group||Yes|
|Pioneer Workers Needed||1|
|Alternate Names||Huihe; Kashgar; Kashgar Turki; Kashgar-Yarkand; Taranchi; Uigher; Uighuir; Uighur; Uiguir; Uigur; Uygher; Weiwuer; Yuanhe; उयघुर|
|Persecution Rank||1 (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)|
|Location in Country||Badakshan and Abi-i-Barik, a few villages Source: Ethnologue 2010|
Primary Language: Uyghur
|Bible Translation ▲||Status (Years)|
|Bible-New Testament||Yes (1914-2005)|
|Possible Print Bibles|
|Forum Bible Agencies|
|National Bible Societies|
|World Bible Finder|
|Resource Type ▲||Resource Name|
|Audio Recordings||Audio Bible teaching (Global Recordings Network)|
|Audio Recordings||Online New Testament (Faith Comes By Hearing)|
|Audio Recordings||Story of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project)|
|Audio Recordings||Xush Hewer Uyghur audio Bible|
|Film / Video||Beware!|
|Film / Video||God's Story Video|
|Film / Video||Indigitube.tv Video / Animation|
|Film / Video||Jesus Film: view in Uyghur|
|Film / Video||LUMO film of Gospels|
|Film / Video||More Than Dreams-Ali|
|Film / Video||My Last Day (Jesus Film Project Anime)|
|Film / Video||The Prophets' Story|
|General||Gospel resources links (Scripture Earth)|
|General||Got Questions Ministry|
|Text / Printed Matter||Bible: ھازىرقى زامام ئۇيغۇرچە تەرجىمىسى|
|Text / Printed Matter||Download scripture in this language|
|Text / Printed Matter||Muqeddes Kitab|
|Text / Printed Matter||Uyghurche Muqeddes Kitab Jemiyiti|
|Major Religion ▲||Percent|
|Christianity (Evangelical 0.05 %)||
|Other / Small||
|Christian Segments ▲||Percent|