Rohingya in United States

Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

In historical perspective Arakan (home of the Rohingya people) is more a frontier province of Eastern India than a province of Burma (now Myanmar). From the very early days till the arrival of the Mongolians and Tibeto-Burmans in the 10th century, Arakan was an Indian land with a population similar to Bengal, with ethnic Aryan people. The spread of Islam in Arakan during those early times and the impact of Islamic civilization on Arakan particularly after Bengal became Muslim in 1203 A.D is well known.

Islam reached Arakan in the late 8th century AD and attracted the local people to convert to Islam en masse. Since then, Islam played an important role towards the advancement of civilization in Arakan. From 1430 to 1638, for more than two hundred years Arakan was ruled by the Muslims. The system of government (Muslim Sultanates) was common in those days. It was an independent Muslim kingdom in the 14th and 15th centuries.

These Muslims have encountered strong pressure from the dominant Buddhist culture, and especially the Myanmar military. The Rohingyas are considered practicing the foreign way of life having no origin in Burma. According to the ruling military the Rohingyas are to adopt and entertain no ideas but those of Burmese race and culture and Buddhism. They have been violently persecuted, and large numbers fled to neighboring Bangladesh, a Muslim dominant country. Bangladesh cannot absorb many refugees. Some Rohingyas have managed to flee from Bangladesh to the United States as political refugees.

In the United States, Rohingyas are in the process of resettling in cities like Chicago and Milwaukee.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Most Rohingyas are recent arrivals in the United States. They are in the process of adjusting to a very difficult language and culture. In some places they are given many resources to re-settle, but in other places they are on their own.

Some are trying to appeal to American government officials to do something about the plight of their people in Myanmar, but there is little the U.S. government can do. Some Rohingya people are being treated for the emotional trauma inflicted on them in Myanmar.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Rohingya people are Sunni Muslims who believe that the supreme God, Allah, spoke through his prophet, Mohammed, and taught mankind how to live a righteous life through the Koran and the Hadith. To live a righteous life, you must utter the Shahada (a statement of faith), pray five times a day facing Mecca, fast from sunup to sundown during the month of Ramadan, give alms to the poor, and make a pilgrimage to Mecca if you have the means. Muslims are prohibited from drinking alcohol, eating pork, gambling, stealing, slandering, and making idols. They gather for corporate prayer on Friday afternoons at a mosque, their place of worship.

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.

Sunni religious practices are staid and simple. They believe Allah has pre-determined our fates; they minimize free will.

In most of the Muslim world, common people depend on the spirit world for their daily needs since they regard Allah as too distant. Allah may determine their eternal salvation, but the spirits determine how well they live on a daily basis. For that reason, some Muslims appease spirits using charms and amulets to help them with spiritual forces. More orthodox Muslims consider these practices heretical and un-Islamic.

What Are Their Needs?

The Rohingyas need healing from the trauma inflicted on them by a wicked government in Myanmar. While dealing with this, they must also learn fluent English and essential job skills in the United States. There is a shortage of American Christ followers who will help them with their practical needs.

Prayer Points

Pray for the Lord to shower his abundant mercy on Rohingya people now settling in the United States.
Pray for American Christ followers to reach out to these Muslims with love and compassion.
Pray for the Holy Spirit to work mightily in Rohingya families, blessing them in every way.
Pray for the Holy Spirit to give the Rohingya people a love for God's Word and a desire to spread its influence.
Pray for an unstoppable movement to Christ among the Rohingyas in the US.

Scripture Prayers for the Rohingya in United States.


Profile Source:   Joshua Project  

People Name General Rohingya
People Name in Country Rohingya
Pronunciation roh-HIHN-juh
Alternate Names Chittagonian; Ruaingga; रोयिंगाइया
Population this Country 12,000
Population all Countries 2,248,000
Total Countries 9
Indigenous No
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group Yes
GSEC 1  (per
Pioneer Workers Needed 1
People ID 11359
ROP3 Code 102170
ROP25 Code 307025
ROP25 Name Rohingya
Country United States
Region America, North and Caribbean
Continent North America
10/40 Window No
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Location in Country Chicago North Side, Phoenix, Dallas   Source:  Website / field source 2022
Country United States
Region America, North and Caribbean
Continent North America
10/40 Window No
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Location in Country Chicago North Side, Phoenix, Dallas.   Source:  Website / field source 2022
Primary Religion: Islam
Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.00 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
0.00 %
100.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %
Primary Language Rohingya (12,000 speakers)
Language Code rhg   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Rohingya (12,000 speakers)
Language Code rhg   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Rohingya
Photo Source digital.democracy - Flickr  Creative Commons 
Map Source People Group Location: Omid. Other geography / data: GMI. Map Design: Joshua Project  
Profile Source Joshua Project 
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Learn more.

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