Persian in Finland

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People Name: Persian
Country: Finland
10/40 Window: No
Population: 14,000
World Population: 43,036,500
Primary Language: Persian, Iranian
Primary Religion: Islam
Christian Adherents: 2.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.20 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Persian
Affinity Bloc: Persian-Median
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

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 Finland.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The lives of Finnish Iranians seem to be studies in the "different." In Iran, Shia Muslims are the majority, but in Finland, they are the minority. Their dark skin sets them apart from the fair Finns. Their clothing is not normal by European standards, and their language is nothing if not different. This causes much difficulty for the Iranians who have been raised in Iranian Muslim culture. As a result, they tend to socialize primarily with each other, blocking out the radically different culture that surrounds them.

Children tend not to be bothered by such things, and easily pick up the way of life that surrounds them, but the older children and teenagers find themselves torn between the societal pressures to conform and the loyalty to Muslim culture demanded by their parents. This conflicting pressure causes many Muslim teens to drop out of school altogether, in turn creating an employment gap that the Muslim Iranians have a hard time overcoming.

What Are Their Beliefs?

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.

What Are Their Needs?

The Islamic world is extremely difficult to influence with the gospel, but Iran seems to be the exception. The Lord is growing His Church in Iran, and many have come to faith in recent years. Prayer is needed for this to extend to the Iranian Diaspora in all parts of the world, including Finland.

Prayer Points

Pray that God will raise up faithful intercessors who will stand in the gap for the Iranian Diaspora.
Pray for a Disciple Making Movement to flourish among Iranians all across Finland.
Ask the Lord to call and send out people who are willing to share the love of Christ with Iranians.
Ask God to strengthen, encourage, and protect formerly Muslim Iranians who have come to faith in Christ. Pray they will reach out to others.

Text Source:   Keith Carey