Thai in United Arab Emirates

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Peoples of Laos, Asia Harvest  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
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People Name: Thai
Country: United Arab Emirates
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 3,300
World Population: 23,420,600
Primary Language: Thai
Primary Religion: Buddhism
Christian Adherents: 1.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.50 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Thai
Affinity Bloc: Southeast Asian Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

Centuries ago the Thai lived north of Yangtzekiang in China. Relentless pressure by the Chinese gradually forced them southward. They conquered many peoples and cultures as they sought a new homeland, and by the 10th century they had settled in central Thailand. A bloodless revolution in 1932, led by Westernized intellectuals, instituted a democratic constitutional monarchy. However, the country has suffered numerous governmental upheavals since then. The Central Thai speak Thai, the official language of the country.

Thai people have gone to other parts of the world for work. Some have gone willingly, while others have been trafficked. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is one of many destinations for the Thai diaspora.

Where Are they Located?

Most Thai people in the UAE live either in Adu Dhabi or Dubai. There are a smaller number of Thai people in the northern emirates.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Most Thai people in the UAE are construction workers. They probably do not earn very much money, but like many migrants who go abroad for work, they are trying to send some of their earnings to their families at home. These Thai construction workers are almost all men, who probably don't have their families with them.

Others are fortunate enough to have their families present. In recent years the Thai have been able to celebrate the annual water fight they call Songkran, which especially appeals to the young. Other Thai people have opened Thai massage parlors. For various reasons, these masseuses are suspected of providing sexual services.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Theravada Buddhism was introduced in Thailand in 329 B.C. Almost all of the Thai are devout followers of Buddha ("the enlightened one") and seek to eliminate suffering and improve their future by gaining merit in pursuit of perfect peace, or nirvana. Today, Buddhism is the central and unifying force in Thai society and even maintains social control.

Traditionally, young men enter a Buddhist monastery for three months to study Buddhism. The Tai also attempt to incorporate their Buddhist beliefs with folk animism, a practice in which they seek help through the worship of spirits and objects.

What Are Their Needs?

Thai Buddhists are living in a land that is predominately Sunni Muslim. It is even harder to hear the gospel in the UAE than it is in Thailand.

Prayer Points

* Pray for the Thai people in the UAE to knock, seek, and find the true savior.
* Pray for them to be reached with the JESUS Film and gospel recordings in the UAE.
* Pray for a spontaneous disciple making movement to emerge for the Thai in the UAE.

Text Source:   Keith Carey