Arab, Syrian in Belgium

Map Source:  Bethany World Prayer Center
People Name: Arab, Syrian
Country: Belgium
10/40 Window: No
Population: 15,000
World Population: 20,175,700
Primary Language: Arabic, Levantine
Primary Religion: Islam
Christian Adherents: 3.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.40 %
Scripture: Portions
Online Audio NT: Yes
Jesus Film: No
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Arab, Levant
Affinity Bloc: Arab World
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Assad family ruled Syria since 1971. Syrian Pres. Bashar al-Assad seemed like he might allow for more freedom, but censorship and surveillance continued to be the norm. Higher expectations came during the Arab Spring in the early 2010s and Syrians became dissatisfied with their government. The Sunni Muslim majority rebelled against the Assads, who are part of the minority Alawite religion. Demonstrations led to an all-out civil war in 2011. Refugees fled in record numbers, mainly to Europe.
They arrived in southern European countries like Greece, only to find that the poor economy would not sustain them. From there, Syrian Arab refugees fanned out to the north, especially to Germany and Sweden, two countries with pro-refugee policies. Others went to Finland, Denmark, France, the UK, and other parts of northern Europe in the mid 2010s. There is a small number of Syrian Arabs in Belgium.

What Are Their Lives Like?

By the early 2020s, Syrian Arab refugees in Belgium were still unable to return to Syria. There have been times in the 2020s when more Syrian Arabs have arrived in Belgium. For that reason, one can find Syrians with different levels of acculturation. Syrians have tried to make friends with the local Belgians and found them friendly but reserved.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Syrians in Belgium might be part of the Alawite religion, an offshoot of Shia Islam. The majority are Sunni Muslim. There are also Christians among the Syrian Arabs. These Christians are usually Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox or Roman Catholic. There are a small number of Protestants as well.
Though there is more freedom of religion in Syria than most Arab majority country, the Syrians have found more freedom to choose their own spiritual answers in tolerant Belgium. People are far more likely to make spiritual changes when they arrive in a new situation than they are once they get settled.

What Are Their Needs?

Syrian Arabs in Belgium need to learn the local language and get prepared to become permanent members of society. Many of the Syrians were well-qualified for high paying jobs in Syria but they need additional job and language training in the new country. Syrian Arab children are already learning the local language and they are getting educated.

Prayer Points

Pray for fellowships to be Christ centered rather than tradition centered.
Pray for the Holy Spirit to revive the Syrian churches, leading them to make disciples who make more disciples to follow Christ will all their hearts.
Pray there will soon come a day when Syrian Arabs will send loving workers to the unreached people groups in Syria.
Pray for spiritual hunger and a discernment that will keep them away from spiritual counterfeits.

Text Source:   Joshua Project