Pray for the Suluk Sea-Nomads

Sandokan, the “Tiger of Malaysia”, was a legendary pirate in the novels of Emilio Salgari. He was a prince who had lost his kingdom and was fighting as a pirate against foreign invaders. The story took place in North Borneo and was inspired by the Suluk and other indigenous peoples who were colonized by the British in the 19th century.

The Suluk people – also knows as the Tausug or “people of the current” – are sea-nomads who converted is Islam many centuries ago. They live in the Sulu Sea, a region as large as Great Britain, between North Borneo and the South Philippines. During the colonisation by European powers, the proud and united Sultanate of the Suluk disintegrated. Noble descendants of the Sultan are, just like Sandokan, still fighting for the liberation of their kingdom from foreign influences. The leader of the Suluk, Tun Mustapha (1918 – 1995), led the British crown colony, North Borneo, to independence, forming the state of Sabah 1963. As chief minister, and a radical Muslim, Mustapha Islamized the country and banned Christian missionaries.

The Suluk radically defend their Muslim faith, supported by the extremist organisation Abu Sayyaf. Hundreds of local Christians and tourists have been abducted and murdered in the past few years by this group.

Through prayer and Bible distribution, however, some direct descendants of Tun Mustapha and other Suluk have come to faith in Christ. Today, some of them are actively sharing the good news among the Suluk. Despite this, the Suluk today are still an unreached group. Still today, less than 2% are Christians with few or no believers in many areas.

How to Pray

  • Pray that the Suluk discover the Kingdom of God during their fight for an independent state and that they get to know the prince of peace Jesus Christ. (Matthew 6:33)
  • Pray for the extremist groups to lose influence in this area and make it possible for Christians and others to live in peace. (Psalm 37:1-5)
  • Pray for the few Suluk Christians to be safe and effective in their witness, and to be a blessing to their community. (Luke 6:35)

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