Uyghur in Sweden

Uyghur
Photo Source:  EnricX - Flickr  Creative Commons 
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People Name: Uyghur
Country: Sweden
10/40 Window: No
Population: 2,100
World Population: 12,310,600
Primary Language: Uyghur
Primary Religion: Islam
Christian Adherents: 0.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Uyghur
Affinity Bloc: Turkic Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

Before 1921 the various Turkic groups in Xinjiang called themselves by the name of the oasis near which they lived. When Turkic leaders met in Tashkent in 1921, they chose the name Uygur as the mark of their identity. Uyghur means "unity" or "alliance." Uygur is a Turkic language, related to Uzbek, Kazakh and Kyrgyz. It also contains loanwords from Chinese, Arabic, Persian, Russian, and Mongolian.

In the mid-eighth century the Uyghur inhabited part of present-day Mongolia. Around AD 840 they were attacked from the north by the Kirghiz and fled southwest to their current homeland in what is now China's Xinjiang Province.

Xinjiang is the border between the Chinese and the Turkic worlds. It is part of China, but the Uyghur people are Turkic in their looks, their religion and their culture. Many want to break away from China, causing violent clashes between the powerful Chinese government and Uyghur separatists. As a result, some have left their homeland for safe places like Sweden.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Uyghur refugees in Sweden struggle with trauma over the condition of loved ones left behind in China. Despite the trauma, they also must establish new lives in a very foreign environment.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Uyghur people are Sunni Muslims who believe that the supreme God, Allah, spoke through his prophet, Mohammed, and taught mankind how to live a righteous life through the Koran and the Hadith. To live a righteous life, you must utter the Shahada (a statement of faith), pray five times a day facing Mecca, fast from sunup to sundown during the month of Ramadan, give alms to the poor, and make a pilgrimage to Mecca if you have the means. Muslims are prohibited from drinking alcohol, eating pork, gambling, stealing, slandering, and making idols. They gather for corporate prayer on Friday afternoons at a mosque, their place of worship.

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.

Sunni religious practices are staid and simple. They believe that Allah has pre-determined our fates; they minimize free will.

In most of the Muslim world, people depend on the spirit world for their daily needs since they regard Allah as too distant. Allah may determine their eternal salvation, but the spirits determine how well we live in our daily lives. For that reason, they must appease the spirits. They often use charms and amulets to help them with spiritual forces.

What Are Their Needs?

The eyes of the Uyghurs need to be opened to the saving truth of Jesus Christ. They need to experience the love and grace of the one, true God. This is also the best way for the Uyghur people to flourish as a unique culture under the God who loves all the varied peoples of the world.

Prayer Points

Pray for effectiveness of the JESUS Film among the Uyghurs in Sweden.

Pray the Lord raises up strong local churches among the Uyghurs in Sweden leading to an unstoppable movement to Christ.

Pray for an insatiable hunger and thirst for righteousness that will lead Uyghurs to the foot of the cross.

Text Source:   Joshua Project