Zaza-Alevi in Greece

Map Source:  People Group location: Bilal Selim Filiz. Map geography: ESRI / GMI. Map design: Joshua Project.
People Name: Zaza-Alevi
Country: Greece
10/40 Window: No
Population: 25,000
World Population: 264,000
Primary Language: Zazaki, Northern
Primary Religion: Islam
Christian Adherents: 0.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: Portions
Online Audio NT: Yes
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Kurd
Affinity Bloc: Persian-Median
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Zaza-Alevi consider themselves to be Kurdish, but their language is unintelligible to Kurds. Instead of Kurmanji, they speak their own language, Northern Zazaki.
In the 1990s, the Turkish military began a scorched-earth effort to root out armed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) insurgents from the homeland of the Zaza-Alevi. Less than 10 percent of the Zaza-Alevi have returned to their homes. The Zaza-Alevi are the target of both the Turkish military and PKK militants. For that reason, many tried to flee to either Greece or Germany.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Zaza-Alevi people have sometimes needed to flee from Turkey's Kurdistan to either Germany or Greece. The more fortunate ones are given asylum as refugees. The less fortunate must return to a place where they can be persecuted.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Zaza-Alevica people have a system of beliefs is unacceptable to Sunni Muslims. They have mixed many elements of various religions and traditions with Islam. For example, they believe mountain goats and other living things are sacred. This harkens back to elements of Zoroastrianism and tribal religion. Unlike Muslims, Zaza-Alevica do not observe the five fundamental requirements of Islam. Of particular distaste to ordinary Sunni Muslims is their failure to observe cleansing rituals before prayer. Some describe them as part of the eclectic Alevi religion rather than Muslim. The Zaza-Alevica however, insist that it is the condition of the heart and mind that is important, not the outward rituals. This foundational belief might be a segue to the gospel.

What Are Their Needs?

The Zaza-Alevica are rejected by Muslims. As a despised people, the Zaza-Alevica need to be shown the love of Jesus in practical ways. Perhaps Christian educators in Europe will have open doors to reach them with the message of salvation.

Prayer Points

Pray for loving, bold workers to go to the Zaza-Alevica people with the life-changing gospel.
Pray for the wide distribution of the New Testament in the Northern Zazaki language.
Pray that the Lord would convict the hearts of the Zaza of their need of the only Savior and his forgiveness.
Ask the Lord to raise up disciples among the Zaza-Alevi of Greece that will make more disciples.

Text Source:   Joshua Project