Hazara in Canada

Photo Source:  Anonymous 
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People Name: Hazara
Country: Canada
10/40 Window: No
Population: 10,000
World Population: 4,450,300
Primary Language: Hazaragi
Primary Religion: Islam
Christian Adherents: 0.10 %
Evangelicals: 0.10 %
Scripture: Portions
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Persian
Affinity Bloc: Persian-Median
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Hazaras are a distinct people of Afghanistan, set apart from fellow Afghans by religion, mixed ethnicity, and an independent nature. They have been persecuted for these differences, especially over the last 200 years. They face discrimination as Shia Muslims, a minority among Afghanistan's dominant Sunni Muslims, as well as for ethnic bias. Their Asiatic facial features make them stand out in Afghanistan.

Pre-second century inhabitants, they are likely Afghanistan's oldest. Their traditional homeland lies in central Afghanistan amid rugged mountains in a nearly inaccessible region of craggy peaks and rushing rivers called the Hazarajat.

Hazara origins are much debated. The current theory, supported by obvious Asian features, favors descent from Mongol soldiers left behind by Genghis Khan in the 13th century, with considerable Turkish admixture. Their unwritten dialect, Hazaragi, contains elements of many languages: Arabic, Urdu, Mongol, Turkish, and Dari.

Prior to the 19th century, the Hazaras were 67 percent of the total population of Afghanistan. More than half were massacred in 1893 when their autonomy was lost as a result of political action. Later fundamentalist governments, including the Taliban, attempted to dismiss them historically, politically and culturally. Other people groups in Afghanistan have continued to attack them until the Hazaras were driven out of Afghanistan. Canada is generous when it comes to allowing for political refugees. For that reason, many now live in Canada.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Hazara women are honored in legends. Before the advent of the Taliban, these independent and industrious Hazara women were highly educated and entered teaching or medical professions as well as serving in political roles. Such women have a good chance of fitting in with a Western culture like that of Canada. Some Hazara women live in various Canadian cities, strengthening human rights efforts and sending relief back home to Hazaras in Afghanistan.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Hazaras are Imami Shia Muslims, otherwise known as "Twelvers," who hold a strong reverence for the son-in-law of the prophet Mohammed. A number of Hazara people who have strong ties with the Tajik people are Ismaili Shias, also known as "Seveners." There are strong antagonistic feelings between the two sects; each one often denies they have any ethnic affinity with the other.

What Are Their Needs?

The Hazaras need a safe place where they can begin new lives and careers. Some Hazaras in Canada need trauma counseling and job training. Followers of Christ can provide both in ways that honor the Lord.

Prayer Points

Ask the Lord to call people who are willing to share Christ with the Hazaras and to help them adjust to live in Canada.

Pray that God will send Christian teachers and literacy workers who can minister to Hazara refugees in Canada.

Pray that the Christians who live near and among the Hazaras in Canada will be bold in sharing their faith in Jesus.

Pray for the Holy Spirit to birth a cascading discipleship movement among the Hazaras for God's glory.

Text Source:   Joshua Project