Kurd, Kurmanji in France

Kurd, Kurmanji
Photo Source:  manothegreek 
Send Joshua Project a map of this people group.
People Name: Kurd, Kurmanji
Country: France
10/40 Window: No
Population: 84,000
World Population: 14,881,100
Primary Language: Kurdish, Northern
Primary Religion: Islam
Christian Adherents: 0.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.00 %
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 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 homelands to countries in the West, especially Germany. The first Kurdish migrants came to Europe in the late 1960s when they faced violent persecution in Turkey. The numbers of Northern Kurds who fled Turkey increased in the 1970s and 1980s. By that time many were also fleeing Iraq, a country that used chemical weapons against Kurdish villages. More are arriving today from Syria, fleeing the ongoing civil war.
The second largest Kurdish community in Europe is in France. Some Kurdish families in France now speak French in their homes while others still speak Northern Kurdish, also known as Kurmanji.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The traditional occupation of the Kurds in their homeland was that of nomadic herding of goats and sheep. In France, they have had to take on new jobs such as construction, owning restaurants, small businesses and in manufacturing. Kurdish parents encourage their boys and girls to obtain a college education so their families can excel economically in the generations to come.
Kurdish families in France have faced pressures to change. Maintaining Kurdish values and adapting to their new Western country is a difficult balancing act every Kurdish person living in France must face. It is especially hard on Kurdish families. Family is an essential part of Kurdish culture. The relationship between family members is close. The Kurdish father is the traditional head of the home. Traditionally a Kurdish man and woman in love could not marry without both their families' permission. That policy is changing due to the individualistic nature of French society. Yet Kurdish parents draw the line when their young adult children want to live with someone of the opposite sex like the ethnic French.
A woman in Kurdistan was not considered an adult unless she was married and had children. By contrast, in France, a Kurdish woman may pursue a professional career and not marry. Kurdish women and girls are supposed to dress modestly. Dressing immodestly would dishonor her family.
Because of the influence of Western, individualistic schools, many young Kurds in France have started to put their own interests before that of their family and community. This has caused a rift in some Kurdish families.

What Are Their Beliefs?

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.

What Are Their Needs?

The Kurds living in France 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 French and new job skills in order to fit into their new nation.

Prayer Points

Pray the Lord leads European 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 France.
Ask God to soon raise up a Disciple Making Movement among French Kurds.
Pray that Kurdish leaders are willing to investigate the claims of Jesus Christ.

Text Source:   Joshua Project