Muslim Kurds in Canada

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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.

Identity Crisis

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.

Pizza Anyone?

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.

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Flag of Canada

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Map of Canada

Reaching Out

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.

Prayer Requests:

* 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.


Comments

  1. My husband is a Kurd and has been a Christian for over a year now. He moved to Canada as a kid and I am an Indian Christian from Malaysia. I have always had a heart to serve in the middle east, to fight for the rights of people like the Kurds who have been treated unfairly over the years. I believe that’s where God has called me to serve and love. Even the way God brought us both together is nothing but an amazing story and a testimony to His glory.

    We are both still very young, he is 25 and I am 21. He is doing his second degree and I am finishing my current degree but I just thought to share that God is amazing and through the love of Christ hearts are healed and joy is restored. My husband’s devotion to Him is admirable and four years ago I never thought the both of us would be here today, married and surrendered to Christ and His will for us both. My husband has seen things and experienced things that I can never understand but he always tells me knowing Christ has brought him joy, peace and love that he has never felt before. He is as passionate as I am about fighting for justice and sharing the love of Christ.

    I hope this brings hope to those who have a hard time dealing with their new found faith in Christ. It wasn’t easy for him with his family and all but we continue to love them and be there for them despite their disapproval of us and our love for Christ…

  2. I am Kurdish Canadian, previously muslim, now non- religious. However, If I chose a religion again, I would chose christianity not Islam. Big muslim nations, turks arabs persian, are big enemy of Kurds. They persecuted them all time and most these countries people coorperata with their goverment against vulnarable and minority Kurds. Shame on them!

  3. I wouldn’t call this report anywhere to be realistic. Most of the Kurds in Hamilton area are of Alawi sect of Islam, whom are mostly anti-islamic even in their homeland (Maras, Turkey). I don’t mean no disrespect but this is the reality. You won’t see the Sunni (orthodox) Muslims denouncing their religion in such a short period of time.
    And yes I am a Canadian Kurd, and I am a proud Muslim.

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