South Asian, Bengali-speaking in Australia

South Asian, Bengali-speaking
Photo Source:  COMIBAM / Sepal 
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People Name: South Asian, Bengali-speaking
Country: Australia
10/40 Window: No
Population: 56,000
World Population: 1,900,600
Primary Language: Bengali
Primary Religion: Islam
Christian Adherents: 9.00 %
Evangelicals: 1.00 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: South Asia Muslim - other
Affinity Bloc: South Asian Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Bengali people are the third largest ethnic group in the world behind the Han Chinese and Arabs. The homeland of the Bengalis is northeast India and Bangladesh. The Bangla language is the seventh most spoken language in the world. During the era of the British Empire, thousands of Bengali people left India and migrated to areas all over the world. Some have found their home in Australia during and after the days of British colonialism. Great Britain claimed Australia in 1770. Australia was set up as a penal colony after the North American colonies gained their freedom. In 1907 Australia became an independent dominion within the British Empire. The British monarch remains the official head of state.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Australia has a highly developed economy. Sources of income include mining gold and diamonds, agriculture, trade, manufacturing and telecommunications. Australia is a major producer of wheat, beef, mutton, and wool. Most Bengali people fit into the middle class as shop keepers, owners of restaurants and small businesses. Many also work in retail, trade and finance. Some professionals in medicine, science, engineering and information technology are some of the highest paid people in Australia. The father is the head of the Bengali home. The mother takes care of the children and domestic responsibilities. More and more Bengali women work full time. Parents strongly encourage their children to marry within their people group and faith. They also want their children to obtain university and professional degrees. Some Bengalis speak their own language at home and English on the job and with their neighbors. Some Bengali families now use English at home.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The majority of the Bengali people living in Australia practice Islam. Of that group, most are Sunni. A smaller group of Bengalis in Australia is Hindu. Muslims attempt to obey the teachings of the Koran and the prophet Muhammad. Sunnis believe that by following the Five Pillars of Islam that they will attain heaven when they die. However, Allah, the supreme God of the universe, determines who enters paradise. Sunnis pray five times a day facing Mecca. They fast the month of Ramadan. They attend mosque services on Friday. If a Muslim has the means, he or she will make a pilgrimage to Mecca once in his or her lifetime. Muslims are also prohibited from drinking alcohol, eating pork, gambling, stealing, using deceit, slandering, and making idols. The two main holidays for Sunni Muslims are Eid al Fitr, the breaking of the monthly fast and Eid al Adha, the celebration of Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son to Allah. A tiny fraction of Bengalis in Australia is evangelical Christian.

What Are Their Needs?

The Bengali need to understand the Christianity is not just the religion for Westerners. Jesus is their Lord and Savior too. They need to see that material success will not bring them happiness and peace of mind. Only through Jesus Christ can one have his sins forgiven and attain eternal life.

Prayer Points

Pray for an opening of spiritual understanding among all Bengalis. Ask the Lord to lead believers and churches in Australia to reach out and build friendships with the Bengalis. Pray that the small number of Bengali Christ followers will be a light for the other Bengali people. Ask the Holy Spirit to soften the hearts of the Bengalis Muslims and Hindus towards Christ so that they will be receptive to the gospel. Ask the Lord to raise up a Disciple Making Movement among the Bengalis in Australia in this decade.

Text Source:   Joshua Project