Kurd, Kurmanji in Germany

Kurd, Kurmanji
Photo Source:  manothegreek 
Map Source:  People Group location: IMB. Map geography: ESRI / GMI. Map design: Joshua Project.
People Name: Kurd, Kurmanji
Country: Germany
10/40 Window: No
Population: 224,000
World Population: 14,881,100
Primary Language: Kurdish, Northern
Primary Religion: Islam
Christian Adherents: 0.20 %
Evangelicals: 0.05 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: Yes
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Kurd
Affinity Bloc: Persian-Median
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

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.

Germany is one of the key places for the Kurdish diaspora. After WWII Kurds began to migrate from the violence and turmoil of their native land to countries in the West. Turks and Kurds began to arrive in Germany starting in the early 1960s. Starting in 1980 Kurds began to arrive in Germany from Iran, because of the Iranian Revolution. They Syrian Civil War kicked off a third wave of Kurdish refugees, this time from Syria.

Most Kurdish families in Germany now speak German in their homes while others still speak Northern Kurdish, Kurmanji. They live in Germany’s many urban centers.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The traditional occupation of the Kurds in their homeland was that of nomadic herding of goats and sheep. In Germany, 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. 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. 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 German society. According to traditional values it was unthinkable for an unmarried Kurdish couple to live together as Germans typically do.

A woman in Kurdistan was not considered an adult unless she was married and had children. In Germany 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. Kurdish families in Germany often have more children than the typical German family. German 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. Western school systems train young people to be independent. Kurdish families in Germany 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 Germany must face.

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 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. 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. 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 Germany 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 German and new job skills in order to fit into their new nation.

Prayer Points

Pray the Lord leads German 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 heart of the Kurdish people living in Germany.
Ask God to raise up a Disciple Making Movement among German Kurds soon.
Pray that Kurdish leaders are willing to investigate the claims of Jesus Christ.

Text Source:   Joshua Project