Bangalore, the capital of the Indian state of Karnataka, is a fast-growing, ethnically diverse, cosmopolitan city with a population of about 6.5 million (making it the fourth largest city in India). Muslim inhabitants number 889,000. In the city, various Muslim communities intermingle with each other and intermarry. Most Muslims there speak Urdu as their mother tongue, though not all can read and write Urdu.
There are multinational companies and numerous universities and colleges in Bangalore. The city is a major centre for Indian Information Technology (IT) companies. Muslims working for these companies and studying in the educational institutions mix with people of other religions and communities, exposing them to new ways of thinking. Many Muslims also send their children to Christian schools that teach the Bible. Some Christian teachers even give Bibles to their Muslim students and discuss the book with them.
The economic status of Bangalore’s Muslims ranges from very wealthy to very poor. Some Muslims are chairmen and directors of multinational companies, while others are beggars trying to scrape together a meager living. Many Muslims are involved in commerce; whole districts are dominated by Muslim-run businesses.
Survey in Bangalore
Recently, a survey was conducted in a Muslim-dominated area. Most of the Muslims who were interviewed had never heard the gospel. One question the survey asked was “What do you know about Jesus (Isa)?” The majority said that they knew nothing about Him; others gave the following views of Jesus:
“He is a prophet. His mother is Mary.”
“Jesus is a good person. His teaching is helpful and right.”
“They are all one. Jesus is related to Allah.”
“He is the same as Allah to the Muslims.”
“Only Christians can understand that Jesus died for them.”
“No idea about Christ. Only seen Christ on TV.”
“Jesus is not the Son of God.”
Another survey indicated that less than 10 per cent of Bangalore’s Muslims have a significant knowledge of the Qur’an and practise religious activities regularly. Almost half considered themselves to be ‘liberal thinkers’ and were not strict about prayer or fasting.
Bangalore is home to many churches and to the headquarters of more than 200 missionary organisations. Nevertheless, the Muslims in the city remain unreached with the gospel. Some initiatives to reach Bangalore’s Muslims exist, but not nearly enough to impact the whole Muslim community. Christians in the city often hesitate to reach out to their Muslim neighbours because of fear. Indian law allows freedom of religion, making it possible to proclaim the gospel openly and sensitively to the Muslim community.
Prayer for India:
* Pray that Bangalore’s cosmopolitan atmosphere will create opportunities for proclaiming the gospel.
* Pray that God will reveal Himself to Muslims in ways that they will not be able to deny that Jesus is their King and Saviour (John 20:26-29).
* Pray for God to give Christians clear, loving, and compassionate strategies that will have an impact on the whole Muslim community.
* Pray for Bangalore’s Christians to know God’s attitudes toward Muslims as they reach out to neighbours, colleagues and fellow students.
* Pray that God will raise up visionary leaders to lead the way in reaching the Muslims of Bangalore.