Arab, Sudanese in United States

Map Source:  Bethany World Prayer Center
People Name: Arab, Sudanese
Country: United States
10/40 Window: No
Population: 1,300
World Population: 18,303,000
Primary Language: Arabic, Sudanese Spoken
Primary Religion: Islam
Christian Adherents: 2.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.80 %
Scripture: New Testament
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Arab, Sudan
Affinity Bloc: Arab World
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

Sudan obtained its independence from Britain and Egypt in 1956. Unfortunately, since that time Sudan has experienced a series of civil wars, revolutions, ethnic cleansings, genocides, droughts, famines, and wars with surrounding African countries. As a result, many Sudanese Arabs have left their homeland in search of a better life. Some Sudanese left Sudan and were able to come to the USA. Starting in the eighth century over a period of one thousand years, the inhabitants of northern and central Sudan gradually became Muslims. This Arabization of the population took place by military conquest and trade. The various ethno-linguistic groups of Sudan adopted Arabic as their first language and converted to Islam. Their descendants make up the Sudanese Arabs of today. To escape the violence and economic disruptions in their land some Sudanese Arabs moved to the West. The New Testament, JESUS Film, and radio programs are available in Sudanese Arabic. Sudanese Arabs in the USA speak Sudanese Arabic at home and English at school and on the job.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Starting in the 1980s, Sudanese Arabs began coming to the USA. They put their children in school where they began to learn English. Men and women needed jobs to support their families. At first the Sudanese Arabs would task any job available such as in restaurants, factories, and as security guards or taxi drivers. As the Sudanese became better educated, they are able to get higher paying jobs and send money home to their relatives still in Sudan or in refugee camps in neighboring African nations. Most Sudanese have come to American cities such as Portland, ME and Omaha, NE. Now there are Sudanese Arab communities in NYC, Los Angeles, Detroit, and San Diego. Recently arrived Sudanese need help in finding places to live, learning English, getting jobs, and enrolling their children in schools. Some churches have sponsored refugees from Sudan.
In Sudan many live in extended families with three generations living under one roof. In the USA most Sudanese live in nuclear families with their relatives and friends living nearby. As children learn English, they gain the opportunity to attend university and earn professional degrees.
In Sudan a man may have up to four wives. In the USA, monogamy (marriage to one spouse) is the law. As Sudanese families in the USA get established, they try to bring their relatives and friends to the USA.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Most Sudanese Arabs are Sunni, the largest branch of Islam. Sunnis try 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. In the USA, the Sudanese are able to enjoy religious freedom. A tiny fraction of Sudanese Arabs living in the USA has become Christian. Muslims are generally more open to the claims of Christ living in the USA than they would be living in their Muslim nation.

What Are Their Needs?

 Sudanese refugees need places to live and help learning English. Their children must be enrolled in school. Most Sudanese must learn new job skills to get employment in American cities. Most Sudanese have never heard a clear presentation of the gospel. Churches that help Sudanese with their physical needs will gain an entrance for sharing the good news.

Prayer Points

Pray that Sudanese Arab parents will be able to provide for the needs of their children. Ask the Lord to move American churches to sponsor Sudanese refugees. Pray the Holy Spirit will soften the spiritual hearts of Sudanese Americans. Ask the Lord to bring a spiritual harvest from the Sudanese Americans and the believers would be incorporated into evangelical churches. Pray for a powerful movement to Christ among the Sudanese Arabs in the US.

Text Source:   Joshua Project