The Kurdish People
A Kurdish boy near his nomadic family's tent on Mount Ararat. (Photo by Gary Fallesen)
At 25 million souls, the Kurdish people are presently the largest ethnic group in the world without a nation. Most live in the eastern part of Turkey (40 percent), while many others live in Iran, Iraq, Syria, Armenia and Azerbaijan. Until recently, most of the Kurdish people lived a nomadic lifestyle raising livestock such as cattle, sheep and goats, in the mountainous regions of these nations. This drifting way of life coupled with the Kurds tribally divided culture most likely had the largest impact on them never being established as a nation. They were very close to establishing a homeland in the early 20th century. Shortly after the end of World War I, the Kurdish people were promised a nation — Kurdistan. However, world politics and shifting allegiances tipped the balance against future Kurdistan, and the nation was never established as it was intended. In recent years, the Kurds have continued to face many challenges. As a people, they have suffered intense discrimination, oppression, and persecution even to the point of genocide in some nations.
Map showing the current area where most of the Kurdish people live. (Joshua Project)
Typically, the Kurdish people live in very poor conditions. They face continuous exposure to many diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis. In addition, clean drinking water is often difficult to find in many of the areas in which the Kurds call “home.” According to some, Kurds “hold their Islam lightly.” This is because they don’t find their identity with being a Muslim the way many in the surrounding areas do. In other words, many Iranians might feel that to be Iranian is to be Muslim, but the Kurds don’t hold the same sentiment. This is perhaps due to their long history going back much further than even the beginning of Islam. The Kurdish people can trace their roots to the Zoroastrians, who are thought to have been the wise men from the east in the Bible. In spite of their light grip on Islam, most Kurds do consider themselves Muslim.
Currently, Climbing For Christ is working with the Kurdish people in eastern Turkey. CLICK HERE for Project Prayer: Turkey.
— Jordan Rowley, Spiritual coordinator, Climbing For Christ
Posted July 27, 2011