Arab, Sudanese in Netherlands

Map Source:  Bethany World Prayer Center
People Name: Arab, Sudanese
Country: Netherlands
10/40 Window: No
Population: 700
World Population: 18,162,600
Primary Language: Arabic, Sudanese
Primary Religion: Islam
Christian Adherents: 0.50 %
Evangelicals: 0.10 %
Scripture: New Testament
Online Audio NT: Yes
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Arab, Sudan
Affinity Bloc: Arab World
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

Sudan obtained its independence from Britain and Egypt in 1956. Unfortunately, since that time Sudan has experienced a series of civil wars, revolutions, ethnic cleansings, genocides, droughts, famines, and wars with surrounding African countries. As a result, many Sudanese Arabs have left their homeland in search of a better life where there is less danger. A group of Sudanese left Sudan and come to live in the Netherlands. Starting in the eighth century over a period of one thousand years, the inhabitants of northern and central Sudan gradually became Muslims. This Arabization of the population took place by military conquest and trade. The various ethno-linguistic groups of Sudan adopted Arabic as their first language and converted to Islam. These peoples make up the Sudanese Arabs of today. The New Testament, JESUS Film, and radio programs are available in Sudanese Arabic. Educated Sudanese Arabs speak English. One of the first things the Sudanese must do in the Netherlands is learn the Dutch language.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Netherlands enjoys one of the highest standards of living in the world. Prosperity and freedom of religion makes it an attractive place for Sudanese Arab refugees. Starting in the 1980s, Sudanese Arabs began coming to the Netherlands. They put their children Dutch public schools. Men and women need jobs to support their families. At first Sudanese take any job available such as in restaurants, security, factories, maintenance, and taxi drivers. As the Sudanese became better educated, they are able to get higher paying jobs and send money home to their relatives still in Sudan or in refugee camps in neighboring African nations. Most Sudanese have come to live in Dutch cities such as Amsterdam, Rotterdam and the Hague. Now there are small Sudanese Arab communities in other Dutch cities. Recently arrived Sudanese need help in finding places to live, learning Dutch, and getting jobs. Some Dutch churches have sponsored refugees from Sudan.
In Sudan many live in extended families with three generations living under one roof. In the Netherlands most Sudanese live in nuclear families with their relatives and friends nearby. As children master Dutch, they gain the opportunity to attend university and earn professional degrees. In Sudan a man may have up to four wives. In the Netherlands, monogamy (marriage to one spouse) is the law. As Sudanese families in the Netherlands get established, they try to bring their relatives and friends in Sudan to the Netherlands and join them.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Most Sudanese Arabs are Sunni, the largest branch of Islam. Sunnis 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. In the Netherlands, the Sudanese are able to enjoy religious freedom. A tiny fraction of Sudanese in the Netherlands has converted to Christianity. Muslims are generally more open to the claims of Christ living in the Netherlands than they would be living in a Muslim nation.

What Are Their Needs?

Sudan needs a just and lasting peace if the millions of refugees are to return. Sudanese people who come to the West need places to live and help learning English. Their children must be enrolled in school. Most Sudanese must learn new job skills to get employment in Dutch cities. Most Sudanese have never heard a clear presentation of the gospel. Churches that help Sudanese with their physical needs will gain an entrance for sharing the good news.

Prayer Points

Pray that Sudanese Arab parents will be able to provide for the needs of their children. Ask the Lord to move Dutch churches and believers to sponsor Sudanese refugees. Pray the Holy Spirit will soften the spiritual hearts of the Sudanese Arabs in the Netherlands so that they can be blessed by a movement to Christ.
Ask the Lord to bring a spiritual harvest from the Sudanese Arabs in the Netherlands and the new believers would be incorporated into evangelical churches.

Text Source:   Joshua Project