Persian in Kazakhstan

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People Name: Persian
Country: Kazakhstan
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 5,300
World Population: 46,396,400
Primary Language: Persian, Iranian
Primary Religion: Islam
Christian Adherents: 0.50 %
Evangelicals: 0.20 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: Yes
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Persian
Affinity Bloc: Persian-Median
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

In the early 19th century, a small group of Persians settled in Kazakhstan looking for employment. The second group arrived in the 1930s, but they might be more Azerbaijani than Persian in language and culture. There were Iranian soldiers who unwittingly were led by a revolutionary. Knowing it would not end well to be part of a rebellion, they fled to Kazakhstan. From there they had to start their lives all over with an unfamiliar language and culture. Fortunately for them, the local Kazakhs were sympathetic, and these former Iranian soldiers were able to find low paying jobs and marry local women, so most of them are mixed with the ethnic groups of Kazakhstan. They have done a good job of getting their lives re-established since that time. However, these Iranians were not able to contact their families in Iran until the 1960s. It wasn't until the 1980s before they were allowed to travel to Iran.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Most of these Persian Iranians are craftsmen with skills involving wood and metal. Some are artists, and there have been interesting art exhibits in the Kazakh cities of Astana, Almaty and Shymkent. There are Persian musical performers who have demonstrated their fascinating culture in Kazakhstan as well. Most of the Persians in Kazakhstan are happy and they have adjusted well. It's common for Persians to send their children to universities in Kazakhstan.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Prior to the Arab invasions, the Persian religion was Zoroastrianism. This religion taught that there was an eternal struggle between the forces of good and evil. Shia Islam became the national religion of Iran in the sixteenth century, at which time the ulama (clergy) began playing an important role in both the social and political lives of the people. Today, most Persians are Shia Muslims of the Ithna Ashari branch. Thanks to the excess of the Iranian government, a high percentage of Persians are secularized and tired of forced religion. The Lord is growing his Church in Iran, and many have come to faith in recent years. Unfortunately, this does not seem to be affecting Persians in Kazakhstan.

What Are Their Needs?

Persians need their spiritual eyes will be opened. Some are staunch Shia Muslims while others are secularized. They need believers to take the glory of Christ to them.

Prayer Points

Pray for Persian believers from Iran to take Christ to Persians in other countries including Kazakhstan. Pray for a spiritual hunger among the Persian diaspora that will result in a movement to Christ in Kazakhstan and other Central Asian countries. Pray for the Lord to show himself powerful and loving to the Persians in Kazakhstan.

Text Source:   Joshua Project