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|People Name:||Kurd, Kurmanji|
|Primary Language:||Kurdish, Northern|
|Christian Adherents:||0.50 %|
|Online Audio NT:||No|
The Kurds are one of the largest ethno-linguistic people group in the world without their own nation. The homeland of the Kurds is in the Middle East, northwestern Iran, southeastern Turkey and the northern sections of Iraq and Syria. After WWII Kurds began to migrate from the violence and turmoil of their native land to other countries. Some migrated to the former Central Asian Soviet Republics. Over 50,000 Kurds live in the nation of Turkmenistan. Some Kurds in speak Turkmen at home while others speak Northern Kurdish or Kurmanji. Turkmen is 70% intelligible with the Turkish of Istanbul. Almost all Turkmen Kurds also speak Russian which is helpful in their business contacts.
Kurds living in the former Soviet countries are among the most prosperous citizens. They face little or no discrimination, and many even hold high political offices, work as professionals and own large businesses. They enjoy the use of utilities, roads, housing, and medical facilities that would be considered "luxurious" in their homeland of Kurdistan. The traditional occupation of the Kurds in their homeland was that of nomadic herding of goats and sheep. In Azerbaijan, they have had to take on new jobs such as construction, owning restaurants and businesses. Kurdish parents encourage their boys and girls to obtain a college education. Family is an essential part of Kurdish culture. The relationship between family members is close. The clan and community are more important than the individual in traditional Kurdish society. The Kurdish father is the traditional head of the home. The groom's family must pay a bride price to the relatives of the bride because she becomes officially part of the groom's family after the wedding. Traditionally a Kurdish man and woman in love could not marry without both their families' permission. According to traditional values it was unthinkable for an unmarried Kurdish couple to live together. A woman in Kurdistan was not considered an adult unless she was married and had children. In Turkmenistan a Kurdish woman may pursue a professional career and not marry. Kurdish women and girls are raised to dress modestly. Dressing immodestly would dishonor her family. Turkmen Kurds tend to live in nuclear families while in Kurdistan, the land of the Kurds, they lived in extended families up to four generations under the one roof. Respecting older people is integral part of Kurdish culture. Hospitality and family honor are significant features. Many young people have started to put their own interests before that of their family and community. Modern school systems train young people to be independent. Kurdish families have faced pressures to change. Maintaining Kurdish values and adapting to Turkmen culture is a difficult balancing act every Kurdish person living in Turkmenistan must face.
About 75% of the world's Kurds claim to be Sunni Muslims. Smaller Kurdish groups include Shia, Sufi, Christian and Yazidi. Sunni Kurds tend to be more tolerate of other faiths than other Muslims. Sunni Kurds try to obey the teachings of the Koran and the prophet Mohammad. They 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. 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 Kurdish New Year on March 21 is celebrated as a major holiday by all Kurds regardless of religion.
The Kurds living in Turkmenistan must understand that biblical Christianity is not just a Western religion. They must see that their good works and devotion to family will not gain them the forgiveness of their sins or eternal life. Newly arrived Kurds need to learn the Turkmen language and job skills in order to fit into their new nation.
Pray the Lord leads Turkmen believers to build friendships with Kurds and tell them about their Savior. Pray that God creates a hunger for the Bible and spiritual truth in the hearts of the Kurdish people living in Turkmenistan. Ask God to raise up a Disciple Making Movement among Turkmen Kurds in this decade. Pray that Kurdish leaders are willing to investigate the claims of Jesus Christ.