Kurd, Kurmanji in Georgia

Kurd, Kurmanji
Photo Source:  manothegreek 
Map Source:  Bethany World Prayer Center
People Name: Kurd, Kurmanji
Country: Georgia
10/40 Window: No
Population: 1,600
World Population: 14,881,100
Primary Language: Kurdish, Northern
Primary Religion: Islam
Christian Adherents: 0.50 %
Evangelicals: 0.10 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: Yes
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Kurd
Affinity Bloc: Persian-Median
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

 The Kurds are the fourth largest ethno-linguistic group in the Middle East after the Arabs, Persians and Turks. Some experts say that the Kurds are the largest people in the world without their own country. A small population of Kurmanji or Northern Turks found their way into the former Soviet Republic of Georgia. The Kurmanji dialect is the most widely spoken of the four Kurdish dialects. The Kurds came to Georgia in the last two centuries to escape Turkish persecution in their homeland. Most Kurds in Georgia live in the capital of Tbilisi and in a southern region near the Armenian border. The heart language of the Kurds in Georgia is Northern Kurdish. Kurds also speak Georgian and often Russian. A revised complete Bible in northern Kurdish became available in 2016.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Kurds have prospered in Georgia. Both before and after the fall of the Soviet Union the Kurds, as a small minority, were allowed to speak their language among their family and operate their businesses. The Georgian Kurds are generally better off economically than the Kurds in Turkey and Iran. Those Kurds who live in urban settings own businesses and work in the professions. Rural Kurds farm their land and raise animals. Traditional Kurdish culture is communal. The needs of the family or clan are put above the desires of the individual. Families are patrilineal with the father and husband running the home. Single women are not seen as full adults in traditional Kurdish society. Women and girls are expected to dress modestly.
Monogamy is the norm although a wealthy man may have up to four wives. If a husband dies, his brothers are expected to take the widow as a second wife if she is unable to find another husband. Families arrange marriages but the choice is not forced on the young person. He or she must agree to the match. Kurds usually live in extended families. A large number of children is viewed as a blessing from Allah. Parents encourage their children to gain college degrees. In urban settings, nuclear families are more common. Kurds want to be good citizens so as to not bring shame on their families. Hospitality is highly valued in Kurdish culture.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The large majority of Georgian Kurds are Muslim, mostly Sunni. Muslims try to obey the teachings of the Koran and the prophet Mohammad. Sunnis believe that by following the Five Pillars of Islam that they will attain heaven when they die. However, Allah, the supreme God of the universe, determines who enters paradise. Sunnis pray five times a day facing Mecca. They fast the month of Ramadan. They attend mosque services on Friday. If a Muslim has the means, he or she will make a pilgrimage to Mecca once in his or her lifetime. Muslims are also prohibited from drinking alcohol, eating pork, gambling, stealing, using deceit, slandering, and making idols.
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. The most important Kurdish holiday is the New Year festival, Nowruz or Newroz, celebrated on the spring equinox (March 19-21). Kurds all over the world celebrate their New Year with special meals, games, dancing, poetry, and family get togethers.

What Are Their Needs?

Many Georgian Kurds have never heard a clear presentation of the gospel. Isa or Jesus is much more than a human prophet as He is described in Islam. The Georgian Kurds may be prosperous financially, but they are in spiritual poverty. Only a tiny number claim to be followers of Jesus Christ.

Prayer Points

 Ask the Lord to call people who are willing to go to Georgia and share Christ with the Kurds.
Ask the Holy Spirit to soften the hearts of the Muslim Kurds towards Jesus Christ, the only Savior.
Pray that God will raise up Georgian believers to help the Muslim Kurds begin their own church planting movement.
Ask God to strengthen, encourage, and protect the few known Kurdish believers in Georgia.
Ask the Lord to give mission agencies wise strategies for reaching the Kurdish population.

Text Source:   Joshua Project