Introduction / History The Tajiks of Central Asia are the oldest surviving people group in that region. Their homeland, Tajikistan, is the mountainous center of Asia, surrounded by the Asian republics of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Kyrgyzstan. Tajikistan includes the Pamir Mountains, which reach altitudes of nearly 25,000 feet. Most of the people live in the parallel valleys below.
The Tajiks have repeatedly been invaded and conquered throughout their history. The armies of Alexander the Great, the Arabs in the seventh century, Genghis Khan, the Turks, the British, and the Russian Empire have all had a profound impact on these people.
In fact, the numerous invasions have been the major factor in the dispersion of the Tajik to other locations. Many Tajiks have crossed over into Afghanistan and are still surrounded by war, ethnic violence, religious tension, and harsh living conditions.
After the breakup of the USSR, Tajikistan suffered through years of a civil war which ended in 1997. However, tens of thousands had been killed and thousands of wives widowed. The economy collapsed, and unemployment was extremely high, up to 70 percent in some rural areas. Some of them moved to other countries with a strong economy like Germany. Though many Tajiks fled to Europe because of war in Afghanistan, others have been fleeing Tajikistan because of an oppressive government.
Where are they located? Tajiks mainly live in either Tajikistan or Afghanistan. Those in Germany usually live in Cologne or Berlin.
What are their lives like? Tajiks, be they from Afghanistan or Tajikistan, are getting re-established in Germany. Life is difficult for people who don't speak the local language and may not have the right job skills. Their reputation is tarnished because many luxury German cars have been found being driven by Tajik government officials in Tajikistan.
What are their beliefs? Nestorian missionaries first brought Christianity to the Tajiks during the 12th century. Today, Tajiks are Sunni Muslims, although some are Shi'ites. Some of them are secular, either because of the Soviet influence from past decades, or because of the secular environment of Germany.
Tajiks tend to be spiritual people and are often open to at least a discussion of spiritual things. They understand the concept of sacrifice, which could be a redemptive analogy to the Lamb of God dying on the cross. However, almost all remain closed to the gospel.
What are their needs? Workers are very much needed to explain the Scriptures and disciple Tajik believers.
Prayer Points * Pray that the Tajiks would not judge Christianity just as a "German religion," but see their own need for salvation in Christ.
* Ask God to raise up more long-term missionaries who will go to Germany and share Christ with Tajiks and other Muslim peoples.
* Ask the Lord to raise up a powerful disciple making movement among the Tajik people in Germany, Russia, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan.
* Pray that God will call out prayer teams to begin breaking up the soil through worship and intercession.