Introduction / History The Crimean Tatars are actually part of a much greater Tatar population that lives primarily in Russia. Large numbers of Crimean Tatars can also be found in Turkey, Romania and Ukraine. The Crimean Tatars are descendants of the Mongols who swept through eastern Europe in the 13th century. Their history has been both complex and turbulent. For many years they have endured hardship, oppression and injustice. By end of the 1440s, the Crimean Khanate was established on the Crimean Peninsula. However, Russian rule came late in the 18th century and was very repressive. In 1944, Stalin accused the entire Crimean Tatar population of collaborating with the Nazis and had them deported to Soviet Central Asia. Sadly, almost half of them died in the process. To this day, the Tatars are still struggling to return to the homeland they were forced to leave almost half a century ago.
What are their lives like? The Tatars are Sunni Muslims who belong to the Hanafite branch. However, they have no version of the Koran in their language. The Muslim faith includes observing Ramadan, a month of ritual fasting. During Ramadan, they are praying for Islam to fill the earth. They also make an annual pilgrimage to Mecca, (the holy city of Islam), whenever possible.
What are their beliefs? Most of the Tatars are Sunni Muslim.
What are their needs? Some evidence suggests that the Crimean Tatars have a thirst for the Word of God. There is a great need for laborers to work among the Crimean Tatars. Tentmakers with skills in agriculture and construction are needed, in addition to those who can evangelize and do church planting. The Tatars also need job training skills and help in establishing small businesses. English language studies may be needed as well. It is God's will for these precious people to come to know Him, for He "...is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9)
Prayer Points Ask the Lord to call full-time workers who are willing to go to the Crimean Tatars and share Christ. Pray that Christian broadcasts will soon be made available in their language. Pray for spiritual hunger among the Crimean Tatars that will lead them to Christ.