Khmer in United Kingdom

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People Name: Khmer
Country: United Kingdom
10/40 Window: No
Population: 11,000
World Population: 16,305,200
Primary Language: Khmer
Primary Religion: Buddhism
Christian Adherents: 3.20 %
Evangelicals: 1.70 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Mon-Khmer
Affinity Bloc: Southeast Asian Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Central Khmer are from the western and central portions of Cambodia, and they make up the majority of the country's total population. The Khmer Empire, which flourished between the ninth and thirteenth centuries, encompassed present-day Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and southern Vietnam. Its power declined after being conquered by the Thai and the Vietnamese.

In 1969, Cambodia suffered bombings by the U.S. and invasions by the Vietnamese; events that threw the country into turmoil. In addition, a civil war broke out between the Cambodian government and communist rebels known as the Khmer Rouge. Possibly three million Central Khmer died between 1975 and 1979 when the Khmer Rouge ruled.

Though an astounding number died, some found safety in other parts of the world including the UK.

Where Are they Located?

The few Khmer people in the UK are mostly in London.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Khmer in the UK have been there for decades, but they maintain their culture through groups like the Cambodian Society in the United Kingdom.

What Are Their 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, few of their population have turned to Christ. 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

Ask the Lord to call people who are willing to go to the UK and share Christ with the Central Khmer.
Ask God to use new Khmer believers to reach out and share the love of Christ with their own people.
Ask God to call forth prayer teams who will begin breaking up the soil through intercession.
Pray for a strong disciple making movement among the Khmer people in the UK and France.

Text Source:   Keith Carey