Immigrants from: Afghanistan
Population in Australia: 25,000
Where in VIC: Greater Dandenong, City of Casey, Shepparton.
Languages: Hazaraghi, Dari
Christian witness: 0.26% in Australia
The Hazara are a minority people group of Afghanistan. They have long been persecuted because of their ethnicity (more Mongolian than other Afghani people groups) and because of their religion (Shia rather than Sunni Muslims). Oral history records the Hazara as descending from 1000 Mongolian warriors left behind to rule a region after a devastating victory, and the Persian women they dominated. (Hazara sounds like the Persian word for 1000). It is possible this beginning is the reason the Hazara are still hated. The Hazara adopted Shia Islam in the 1600s while part of the Persian Empire. From the 19th century they were geographically part of the Afghan Empire but mostly left to their own autonomy, though there were many attempts to subjugate them. In recent times the Taliban have vowed to wipe them out. The Taliban are not officially in control of Afghanistan, but they do control vast swathes of land and pose a serious threat to the very existence of the Hazara.
The Hazara are semi-nomadic, caring for both herds and crops in their mountainous homeland.
Traditionally the Hazara people have had very little education. Most boys have had a few years schooling which consists of learning poetry. After that the boys are responsible for the animals. It has only been this century that the Hazara have started to have access to minimal education, however they are still greatly disadvantaged compared to other Afghanis. The education that Hazara children receive in Australia is more than their parents could ever have imagined receiving.
The Hazara are an oral culture. Presentations of the Gospel will be best recieved if they come in the form of stories, poems and music as this is the way the Hazara maintain and pass along the most important parts of their heritage and identity.