Kurds have been coming to the United States and Canada from Turkey, Iraq and Iran for decades. Thousands of Kurds fled Iraq during and subsequent to Saddam Hussein’s mass killings of Kurds through chemical and conventional warfare. Those who have gone to North America as refugees are survivors. Some of them were Kurdish freedom fighters who were tortured under Saddam Hussein’s regime. Perhaps six thousand Kurds now live in Southern Ontario, Canada. Hamilton, Ontario, a city of half a million people, is home to about 2,000 Kurds. Most of the Kurds in Hamilton come from Northern Iraq and speak a Kurdish dialect called Sorani. All of them are weary of the violence, persecution and killing still continuing in Iraq today.
Over 90% of the Kurds in Hamilton are from a Muslim background (although some are communist or atheist and a few are Zoroastrian). Today, many of the Kurds in Canada have shed their identity as Muslims. A few have even become anti-Muslim. Although still believers in God, they tend to be suspicious of any religion.
In Hamilton, Kurds have specialised in the pizza business. They operate and work long hours in small pizza shops that are open seven days a week. The Kurdish refugees and immigrants love the freedom they have found in Canada to be Kurdish, to gather freely and to speak their language. However many are drying up spiritually and becoming materialistic. Kurdish children in Canada are growing up between two worlds. With English as their most familiar language, they’re more comfortable in Canada than back “home” in Kurdistan. In Hamilton the Kurdish community runs a Kurdish language school for their own children in order to maintain their cultural and language roots.
In recent years some local Christians have made efforts to proclaim Christ among Ontario’s Kurds. These believers desire to establish a movement of Kurdish house churches. They really want to help Kurds discover Christ and to live their new found faith in a fully Kurdish manner. In 2006, two Kurdish brothers professed faith in Christ. The family of these brothers is open to the Gospel, but not ready to make a commitment. Unfortunately this seems to be a repeated pattern.
* Pray that Canadian believers can show their Kurdish friends how to follow Christ. May the Lord Jesus Christ be glorified as Kurds, find the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6).
* Pray that God will send dreams and visions in order that the Kurdish community will see their spiritual need and God’s provision through Jesus.
* Pray that Kurds will want to understand more of God’s story through the Bible and Christian films.