Introduction / History
First came the Vedda people from Sri Lanka, and later Mediterranean peoples from Europe. By the 8th century the land now associated with Bengalis was becoming populated by Arabs, Turks, and Persians.
The term "Bengali" fits better with a language than an ethnic group. There are over 200 million people who speak this language, making it one of the top 10 largest languages in the world. There are numerous castes and communities that speak this major South Asian language.
Bengalis speakers cannot be defined by religion since they are either Hindu or Muslim. Hindus live mainly in India's state of West Bengal, and Muslims live mainly in their own country, Bangladesh. People often call the Muslim Bengalis "Bangladeshis" though there are many Muslim Bengalis in West Bengal as well.
Bengali speakers have a long, proud history as intellectuals in South Asia. Bengali artists have produced great literature, films, music, and dance.
Where are they located?
Though most Bengalis speakers live in either India or Bangladesh, there is a considerable diaspora. Some Bengalis have migrated to Finland, though this is far from their most favored destination. Those who live in Finland are mainly in Helsinki, the capital city.
What are their lives like?
A good many Bangladeshis in Finland are students. Up until 2012, Finland gave many scholarships to promising students from developing countries like Bangladesh. Others are businessmen, shop owners or workers, jewelers, and techies.
What are their beliefs?
The Bengalis who live in Finland are mainly from Bangladesh, and they are Sunni Muslims. In Bangladesh, Muslims do not tolerate dissention from those who want to "convert" to another religion, or even to the Ahmadiyya sect of Islam.
What are their needs?
Bangladeshis in Finland have an opportunity to embrace Christ that they don't have in Bangladesh, where they are likely to face persecution from the Sunni Muslim majority.
* Pray for the Holy Spirit to birth a cascading discipleship movement among the Bengalis in Europe for God's glory.
* Pray that the followers of Christ in Finland will lovingly reach out to these Muslims with Christ-like character.
* Pray that Bangladeshis will be open to embracing Jesus Christ as lord of their lives.
Text source: Keith Carey