16 June 2017 / Day 21
Domari Gypsies of the Middle East
The Domari Gypsies are scattered about the Middle East in Lebanon, Jordan, Syria and Palestine. They are often called by the derogatory term,’Nawar’ in this region. Originating from Northern India, the Domari migrated to the Middle East between 700 and 1000 years ago. They were originally a nomadic people, known for their love of music and dancing although most are now settled in different places many still live in tents, often made from wooden frames and old recycled materials.
Domari Gypsies are looked down on by the rest of society and Gypsies will often try to hide their identity. They face discrimination in the larger community and abuse within the family is common. Many do not have official papers, which prevents their children from attending school or receiving medical care.
Families tend to be large and girls are married at a very young age. There is a lot of pressure on women to bring in money – girls are sometimes sent by their fathers to work as dancers or prostitutes, and the children can be seen begging while the men gather in groups, drinking coffee and discussing matters of their community.
Gypsies in in the Middle East have adopted the local Muslim faith but they are also very superstitious, practicing folk Islam and sorcery to attempt to manage the spirit world. Where Domari Gypsies have become Christians in the Middle East, they show an inherent desire to worship God through music. They are bold and passionate people, full of faith and very resilient.
How to Pray
- Pray for better opportunities to improve their economic situation, for help with education and job creation so families can provide for their needs without exploitation.
- Pray for freedom from the fear of evil spirits and superstition and an understanding of the love and light of God.
- Pray for the Domari Gypsies who are believers – that they will find a way to use the strengths of their culture to bring positive change within their communities.