Tigre, Eritrean in Norway

Tigre, Eritrean
Photo Source:  Link Up Africa 
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People Name: Tigre, Eritrean
Country: Norway
10/40 Window: No
Population: 30,000
World Population: 827,200
Primary Language: Tigre
Primary Religion: Islam
Christian Adherents: 0.40 %
Evangelicals: 0.05 %
Scripture: Complete Bible
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Ethio-Semitic
Affinity Bloc: Horn of Africa Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

Invisible and unnoticed, lurking quietly in Norway, there is a group of people that is almost unknown to the rest of the world. They are Tigre, refugees from the small nation of Eritrea in the Horn of Africa. The Tigre were traditionally nomadic shepherds who lived mainly in Eritrea and northeastern Sudan. Descendants of the ancient Egyptians, they are generally tall with narrow noses and brown skin.

Eritrea has one of the worst records for human rights worldwide. Tigre who practice "unregistered" religion are arrested by the Eritrean government. Those who attempt to flee Eritrea receive the same fate. What they flee includes extrajudicial executions, torture, indefinitely prolonged national service, and forced labor. In addition, there are accounts of sexual abuse by government officials. As a result, those who are able will flee to Norway and other safer countries to save their lives and their future.

What Are Their Lives Like?

In Europe, Eritrean Tigre tend to be politically oriented, voicing the need for change in their home country. But they are hounded by agents of the Eritrean government who have even worked their way into becoming interpreters during sensitive conversations between the refugees and one European government. Facing persecution even outside their borders, it is no wonder that Tigre refugees keep themselves out of sight.

Tigre society is patrilineal, which means that the line of descent is traced through the males. Marriages are arranged by the parents. Some of the people now adhere to Islamic customs, while others continue to follow traditional customs. Members of a tribe usually follow the same set of rites and customs.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Although the Tigre profess to be Sunni Muslims, most of them practice folk Islam, which is a blend of Islam and ethnic beliefs. Their traditional beliefs include animal sacrifices and rain making rituals. Sacrifices of livestock or corn are offered whenever they think their sins are numerous. They believe that the sacrifice becomes the scapegoat for their sins. The Tigre also believe in an evil spirit named Zar, who possesses people and causes accidents, illnesses and sometimes death. The people depend on shamans (priests) to cure the sick, communicate with the spirits, and control events. The shamans also exorcise demons and perform services by entering into a trance.

What Are Their Needs?

Only a few Tigre have allowed Jesus to truly be Lord of their lives. Prayer is the key to reaching this people for Christ's Kingdom.

Prayer Points

Pray for a "Book of Acts" type of movement to Christ among the Tigre Eritreans in the Netherlands.
Pray for the Tigre Eritreans to understand and embrace that Jesus wants to bless their families and neighborhoods.
Pray for Holy Spirit anointed believers from the Tigre Eritreans to change their society from within.
Pray for a movement in which the Holy Spirit leads and empowers disciples to make more disciples.
Pray for a movement of Jesus to heal and strengthen Tigre Eritrean communities.

Text Source:   Keith Carey