Introduction / History The Malay people of Peninsular Malaysia make up the majority of the Malay peoples in Malaysia, Brunei, and Singapore. In Malaysia, people are classified as Malay by the federal constitution if they speak their national language, Bahasa Malaysia, practice Malay customs, and are followers of Islam. The Malay of Peninsular Malaysia find much pride in their cultural heritage and place great emphasis on family and community dependence.
Their cultural heritage and family units are tested when they move to European countries like Denmark. There is a Malaysian Danish Association in Denmark, but the Malays there blend the various cultures of Malaysia. They enjoy one another's company with Chinese food and colorful Malay-based dance productions. No doubt the cultures of Europe are becoming a part of their lives as well.
Where are they located? The Malays in Denmark are most likely to live in urban centers.
What are their lives like? It is difficult for Malays in Southeast Asia to maintain a pure culture because they are constantly in contact with the Chinese and South Asian peoples who live with them. This is even more pronounced when they live in Denmark where they have contact with Danes, and often use English as a trade language. Some even marry Danes. They do, however, manage to retain their Islamic religion and cultural events.
What are their beliefs? Islam was brought to Malaysia by Arabic and Indian traders many centuries ago, and the Malay people have come to embrace and ardently follow the Islamic faith. All Malay people are considered Islamic though levels of devotion to the religion are varied. Even those who half-heartedly follow Islam participate in the fasting month, and the Malay people of affluence will go on the pilgrimage to Mecca at least once if not many times during their lifetime.
The Malay have early roots in Hinduism and traces of this can still be seen in certain aspects of their culture such as weddings. For instance, the bride and groom will paint their hands with henna and will sit upon a platform for hours for the guests to admire.
What are their needs? While the Malay place great emphasis on family, it is ironic that one of their greatest needs lies in the breakdown of the family unit. Divorce and youth issues are challenges facing the Malay family both in Malaysia and in Europe.
Prayer Points * Pray that the peace of Christ will reign among the Malay people in Denmark.
* Pray that believers in Europe will take the gospel of Christ to the Malay people in Denmark.
* Pray for a Malay-based church planting movement to begin in Denmark and spread to Malaysia.
* Pray that the Word of God might penetrate the veiled hearts and minds of the Malay people in Europe.
* Pray that the Holy Spirit will speak to the hearts of Malay leaders, and give them a desire to seek truth and righteousness found only in Christ.