Introduction / History The Uzbeks are a Turkic people group located primarily in Central Asia. The earliest ancestors of the Uzbeks, the Central Asian Turks, aided Genghis Khan in his conquest of Eastern Europe in the 1300s. Eventually, as unity between the Turks and Mongols faded, numerous warring kingdoms were formed. It was from several of these kingdoms that the Uzbeks descended.
By the mid-1800s, most of the Uzbeks had been conquered by the Russians. They lived under czarist rule until the Bolshevik Revolution brought the Communists to power in 1917. The new socialist government forced many of the Uzbek nomads and farmers to live on collective farms. When the Soviet Union broke up in 1991, Uzbekistan became an independent nation. At that time, some of them managed to leave for Western countries like Italy in search of better jobs and education.
Where are they located? About 15 million Uzbeks live in their homeland, present-day Uzbekistan. There are also large Uzbek communities in Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan, as well as small communities in many other nations, including Italy.
What are their lives like? No matter where they live, Uzbek families are extended, with a patriarchal authority ruling over several generations.
What are their beliefs? Most Uzbeks are Sunni Muslims of the Hanafite branch. Like other Muslims, the Uzbeks believe that there is one God, Allah, whose will was revealed through the prophet Mohammed and then recorded in the Koran. The Uzbeks are not generally Orthodox Muslims. Many traditional beliefs have been mingled with their Islamic practices. Many of the younger generation are either atheists or non-religious.
What are their needs? The rural lifestyle of most Uzbeks in Uzbekistan did not prepare them for an urban life. Believers can teach them marketable skills for the 21st century.
Prayer Points * Ask God to grant wisdom and favor to mission agencies focusing on the Uzbeks.
* Ask the Lord to send long term laborers to live among the Uzbeks in Italy and share the love of Christ with them.
* Pray that believers in Europe will start reaching out to their Uzbek neighbors, and they would be receptive for Christ's love.
* Pray for effectiveness of the JESUS Film and Bible portions that are available in the Uzbek language.
* Pray for God to raise up a Disciple-Making movement among Uzbeks in Italy that will spread to Uzbeks around the globe.