Arab, Palestinian in France

Map Source:  Bethany World Prayer Center
People Name: Arab, Palestinian
Country: France
10/40 Window: No
Population: 4,000
World Population: 11,441,700
Primary Language: Arabic, Levantine
Primary Religion: Islam
Christian Adherents: 3.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.05 %
Scripture: Portions
Online Audio NT: Yes
Jesus Film: No
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Arab, Levant
Affinity Bloc: Arab World
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Arab Diaspora is the Arab population who live outside of North Africa and the Middle East. Though the Arabs have many subgroups, one of them stands out: The Palestinians. Some of them now live in France. Most fled the wars, poverty and violence in Palestine to find a new home in peaceful, prosperous France. Most Palestinian Arabs continue to speak South Levantine Arabic at home and French with others. The majority are taking advantage of the French education system to improve their lives and the future of their children.

What Are Their Lives Like?

A number of Palestinian Arabs came to France after having been displaced in the 1948 war with Israel. More came after the 1967 war. The lives of the French Palestinians are vastly superior to the lives of the Arabs who live in the Gaza Strip and West Bank. Most French Arabs would fit into the lower middle class or lower class of France. They work in shops, factories, construction sites, restaurants, and farms. As they gain more education and job skills they are moving into the middle and upper classes. Some send money or remittances to their relatives and friends in Gaza and the West Bank on a regular basis. Palestinian Arab society is paternalistic. The husband controls the family with the wife and children submitting to his authority. Arab Women in France are in a better position than those in the Middle East. By becoming college educated, women are able to have careers closed to them in Palestine. In traditional culture the parents choose whom their child will marry. That is changing as more and more young Arabs in France choose their marriage partner. In general, Arab families have more children than other ethnic groups in France. Almost all Palestinians in France practice the Islam of their ancestors. Going to mosque on Fridays and the daily calls to pray continue to hold importance in the lives of French Arabs.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Most French Palestinian Arabs are Sunni, the largest branch of Islam. They try to obey the teachings of the Koran and the prophet Mohammad. They 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 make idols. The two main holidays for Sunni Muslims are Eid al Fitr, the breaking of the fast and Eid al Adha, the celebration of Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son Ismael to Allah. More and more young Arab people are becoming secularized in France. Their brand of Islam is becoming more cultural rather than religious.

What Are Their Needs?

The Palestinian Arabs of France must understand their good works will not get them right with God. God forgives sins and grants eternal life only through the death and resurrection of His Son Jesus or Isa. The Arabs need to see biblical Christianity as not just the European's religion but as their own as well.

Prayer Points

Ask God to open the spiritual eyes of the Palestinian Arabs as they hear about Isa al Masih. Pray that the Lord sends European believers to build friendships with Arabs and tell them the good news about Jesus. Pray the Lord raises up a Disciple Making Movement among the French Arabs in this decade. Pray that leaders in the French Arab community would be willing to investigate the claims of Christ.

Text Source:   Joshua Project