They are native to the region of Bengal and speak the Bengali language. They are a group over 190 million united by language and the religion of Islam. They are divided into three classes: Ashraf (upper castes), Aljaf (lower castes), and Arzal (the Untouchables). In rural areas, their homes are simple bamboo huts with grass roofs, elevated several feet off the ground
They are the second largest ethnic Muslim community in the world; every year many of them die without knowing Christ.
Some important facts about the Bengali Muslims:
- The religion census shows a 5 – 7% increase in their population over the last census in several districts across Assam and West Bengal.
- Over 100 ago there was a large migration of Bengali Muslims from East Bengal (which is now Bangladesh) into Assam.
- Devastated by floods in Bangladesh and the under development in India, the Muslim Bengali are some of the poorest people in the world, with annual per capita income around $360.
- Most Muslim Bengalis subsist from wet-rice farming and small-scale fishing.
- In their culture, people are respected because of their age and position. Older people are naturally viewed as wise and granted
- Bangladeshis expect the most senior male, by age or position, to make decisions that are in the best interest of the group.
- Ask God to direct the Bengali Muslims towards a greater understanding of Jesus and the salvation which only He can bring.
- Several Christian leaders have been martyred in Bangladesh recently. Pray for their families and the protection of future leaders.
- Pray for continued open doors to share the love of Christ through relief and development work.
- Ask God to protect the Bengali church from becoming dependent on foreign aid.
- Pray for effective outreach to the 500,000 Muslim Bengali college students, the future leaders of their people.
- Pray that every sub-group among the Muslim Bengali might be reached.