Introduction / History
Sinhalese culture goes back about 2600 years when migrants from what is now northern India went to Sri Lanka. Eventually these new settlers developed a language which we now call Sinhala, and the people were Sinhalese. Around 250 B.C. they embraced Buddhism, which became part of their identity as a people.
Sinhalese people who live in Qatar migrated there for education or for better living and working conditions.
Where are they located?
By far the most Sinhalese people live in their country of origin, Sri Lanka, but some have migrated elsewhere, including Qatar. Sinhalese live in the peninsula of Qatar which is bordered by Saudi Arabia on the west. Qatar is a tiny Arabian peninsular state that is almost entirely desert.
What are their lives like?
There are many opportunities in Qatar. Sinhalese people in Qatar work in agriculture, in the oil and gas fields, in arts, sciences, education, tourism, and business. The service industry provides many employment opportunities. In Qatar, education from ages 8-18 is both free and academically excellent. Several universities are available. There are no sales nor income taxes in this wealthy nation.
What are their beliefs?
Unlike the Arab majority, the Sinhalese in Qatar are 95 percent Buddhist. The strict Wahhabi form of Sunni Islam is the state religion in Qatar. Proselytism is forbidden, but expatriates are allowed to practice their faith. It is believed that there are a few followers of Jesus among Sinhalese in Qatar.
What are their needs?
Resources in the Sinhalese language include a complete Sinhalese Bible, an audio New Testament online, JESUS Film, and gospel recordings. The Sinhalese need to have the spiritual hunger it will take to find and use these resources.
Pray that gospel radio, television, and Christian websites might penetrate the homes and hearts of Sinhalese people living in Qatar.
Pray that greater unity, effective discipling of believers, and sensitive sharing of faith will occur among the Sinhalese in Qatar.
Pray for a mighty disciple making movement among the Sinhalese both in Sri Lanka and in Qatar.
Text source: Keith Carey