Introduction / History The Chechens are from the North Caucasus Mountains of southwestern Russia. They are among the Turkic peoples conquered by the Russian Empire. Their homeland is called Chechnya. Fighting between the Chechens and the Russians has been sporadic since the 1700s. When the USSR imploded in 1991, Chechens quickly attempted to gain independence. That decade saw two major rounds of fighting between the Russian military and Chechen militias in Chechnya. By 2000 the Russians had destroyed Grozny, the main city in Chechnya. Chechens have fled Chechnya to many places including Belgium.
Where are they located? Most of the Chechen diaspora have fled to urban Russia, Ukraine, France, Germany, and Austria, but some have tried to make Belgium their home. Within Belgium, Chechens mainly live in Aarschot. Others live in Brussels, Antwerp, Ostend, Louvain, Bredene, and Namur.
What are their lives like? The culture of rebellion and violence has followed the Chechens to Belgium. Chechens who make the news include those who helped lead a high-level terrorist attack, and those fighting as gang members. This situation makes them unpopular with the local people.
What are their beliefs? Chechens are predominantly Sunni Muslims, though many belong to a Sufi brotherhood. Sufism is a more emotional form of Islam that is usually blended with pre-Islamic folk religion.
What are their needs? The Chechens in Belgium need marketable skills that can help them earn an honest living in an urban setting. Training in computer programming and business skills would be welcome by these people who are caught in a cycle of violence and poverty.
They need believers who are willing to risk their lives to befriend them and share the Prince of Peace.
Prayer Points * Pray for workers with sacrificial love to go to the Chechens to teach job skills and the ways of the Prince of Peace.
* Pray for the Chechens to become appalled by violence and seek spiritual answers from the Lord.