Khmer in Germany

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People Name: Khmer
Country: Germany
10/40 Window: No
Population: 13,000
World Population: 16,283,100
Primary Language: Khmer
Primary Religion: Buddhism
Christian Adherents: 4.00 %
Evangelicals: 2.00 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: Yes
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Mon-Khmer
Affinity Bloc: Southeast Asian Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Khmer civilization once ruled much of Southeast Asia. In the 1200s, the Thais and Vietnamese defeated the Khmer and pushed them into Cambodia, where most live today. The huge Angkor Wat temple complex in Cambodia gives evidence of past glories. The first Khmer Cambodians came to Germany during East Germany's communist era. They were mainly students.

Most Khmer are in Cambodia where they are the dominant people group, but there is a diaspora in many Western nations including Germany.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Khmer in Germany have been there for decades, but they maintain their culture through their own cultural societies. Cambodian restaurants, owned and staffed by Cambodians, are popular in Germany. Cambodians have made their mark in Germany in the areas of business and sports. Some Cambodians have returned to Cambodia after living in Germany.

What Are Their Beliefs?

They have been primarily Buddhist since the 13th century, but elements of Hinduism and animism are mingled with Buddhist beliefs. The former Khmer Empire was influenced by India, from which it adopted Hinduism and Buddhism. Today, the majority of the Central Khmer are Buddhist, although relics of ethnic religions such as ancestor worship (praying to deceased ancestors) and spirit worship are very important to them. The Buddhist Khmer also seek the middle path to nirvana, or ultimate peace through gaining merit in this life. Merit may be gained through supporting the construction of Buddhist temples, giving food to monks and studying in the monastery.

What Are Their Needs?

Although the Bible and other Christian resources are available to the Central Khmer, there is a long way to go before they would be considered reached, even in Germany where the percentage of Khmer believers is higher than it is in Asia. They remain in need of true inner peace, that can only come from Jesus Christ. Prayer is the key to reaching them with the gospel.

Prayer Points

Pray that the Khmer people in Germany will have a spiritual hunger that will open their hearts to the King of kings.
Pray for workers who are driving by the love and boldness of the Holy Spirit to go to them.
Pray for a Disciple Making Movement among them to begin this decade.

Text Source:   Joshua Project