Introduction / History The name Darfur became well-known in the first years of the 21st century. Darfur means homeland of the Fur people. In 2003 the Sudanese government, which consisted primarily of Arab peoples, began a systematic killing and eradication of the mostly black African Fur peoples in the western area of Sudan called Darfur. Hundreds of thousands of Fur had to flee to neighboring countries like Chad or face death at the hands of the Janjaweed militias. Chad is one for poorest nations in Africa and cannot provide adequately for the refugees. In 2008 UN peacekeepers came to Darfur, but this force did little to stop the violence against the Fur peoples. Today different factions within the Fur peoples are fighting one another, extending the damage inflicted by the Sudanese government. This has continued despite the fact that Sudan has been divided into two countries. A complete Bible and the JESUS Film are available in the Fur language. There are few if any believers among the Fur of Chad.
What are their lives like? The Fur are an agricultural people who also raise cattle. In times of peace, the Fur grow millet, sorghum, maize, and beans for their stable foods. Peanuts, cotton and tobacco are cash crops. Many Fur villages have chickens, cattle and goats to supplement their diets. War and violence in Sudan have made living conditions for the Fur even worse. Many are living in tents and are dependent on aid from the United Nations and NGOs for food, shelter and water. Families arrange marriages with the girls getting married at a young age. A man may have up to four wives if he can afford them. The number of cattle determines the wealth of a village or family. Unfortunately, many Fur children do not attend school due to the lack of teachers and the family's need for child labor. Periods of draught are common in the savannah regions where the Fur live. In times of no or little rain, the Fur face salvation.
What are their beliefs? The vast majority of the Fur claim to be Sunni Muslims. Their Islam is heavily mixed with folk religion and animism. Sunni Muslims try to obey the teachings of the Koran and the prophet Mohammad. Sunnis believe that by following the Five Pillars of Islam that they will attain heaven when they die. However, Allah, the supreme God of the universe, determines who enters paradise. Sunnis pray five times a day facing Mecca. They fast the month of Ramadan. They attend mosque services on Friday. If a Muslim has the means, he or she will make a pilgrimage to Mecca once in his or her lifetime. Muslims are also prohibited from drinking alcohol, eating pork, gambling, stealing, using deceit, slandering, and making idols. The two main holidays for Sunni Muslims are Eid al Fitr, the breaking of the monthly fast and Eid al Adha, the celebration of Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son to Allah.
What are their needs? The Fur need a just and lasting peace in Chad and Sudan. They will need help in reestablishing their lives of farming and cattle raising. Many Fur lack access to clean water and modern medicine. The Fur need schools and teachers for their children. Most of all, the Fur must hear and understand the gospel of Jesus Christ. He alone can give them the peace of mind and security the Fur are seeking.
Prayer Points Pray for peace and justice to prevail in Chad and Sudan. Pray that Fur parents are able to provide for their children. Pray that Fur refugees will be open to the good news. Pray that the Lord raises up a movement to Christ among the Fur people this decade. * Pray for completion of Bible translation in this people group's primary language.