Azerbaijani, Azeri Turk in Canada

Azerbaijani, Azeri Turk
Photo Source:  Travlr 
Map Source:  Qamxan
People Name: Azerbaijani, Azeri Turk
Country: Canada
10/40 Window: No
Population: 24,000
World Population: 18,104,100
Primary Language: Azerbaijani, South
Primary Religion: Islam
Christian Adherents: 0.30 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: Yes
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Azerbaijani
Affinity Bloc: Turkic Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

Most of the Azerbaijanis in Canada live in Toronto. There have been five waves of Azerbaijanis going to Canada, and the first wave was in the 1930s. Traditionally Canada has been willing to take refugees from dangerous parts of the world, and most Azerbaijanis have fled to Canada because of political instability or war such as the Iranian Revolution in 1979 or the war between Azerbaijan and Armenia from 1988-92.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Azerbaijanis have entered Canada at different times, which means that the degree they are acculturated is different for different generations.
Being small in population, the Azerbaijanis have needed to blend into the ways of Canada, yet they remember and practice aspects of the own unique culture. Azerbaijanis speak a Turkic language. Every year they hold the Novruz Bayrami festival, a celebration of both the coming of spring and the new year. They celebrate with their own music, dance and food. Christian believers who want to reach out them can attend these events and make friends on an informal basis.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Azerbaijanis can be either Sunni or Shia Muslim. Both Sunnis and Shias agree that Allah is the one true God, and that Mohammad was his messenger. They both practice the Five Pillars of Islam, but there are some major differences. Shias believe that Mohammad's successor should be someone in his bloodline, namely Ali. The Sunnis believed a pious individual who would follow the prophet's teachings was the right choice. Because some of their leaders have faced violent, martyr's death, Shias understand that a righteous man can be killed by the unrighteous. For this reason, Christ's death on a Roman cross isn't as foreign to them as it is to Sunnis.

What Are Their Needs?

The Azerbaijanis in Canada have almost no gospel witness in their communities. They are Shia Muslims whose culture straddles those of the Turks (language) and Iranians (religion). It will take a deliberate effort to take Jesus to the Azerbaijanis in Canada. This might best be done by Iranian believers since they at least share the same religious background. It can also be done by Christ followers who want to be language tutors, etc.

Prayer Points

Pray the few Christ followers among the Azeri Turks in Canada will stay connected with their community and be salt and light to their Muslim neighbors and family members.
Pray for a Christ-ward movement among Azerbaijanis that will result in fellowships of believers in Azerbaijan and Canada.
Pray for spiritual discernment and hunger among the Azerbaijanis in Canada.

Text Source:   Joshua Project