Into Their World…The Bangali of Bangladesh

Photo courtesy Joshua Project

With more than 99% of the Bengali in Bangladesh being Muslim, this people group remains one of the least-evangelized in the 10/40 Window (the rectangular area of North Africa, the Middle East and Asia between ten degrees north and forty degrees north latitude). Considered to be the original inhabitants of the Bengal region of southwest Asia, this people group consists of many highly diversified cultures.

Most Bengalis dwell in villages with populations of less than 1,000 and there are currently more than 100,000 villages across the Bengal region. More than 100 million people currently live in Bangladesh. Ninety percent of these are Bengali and for the church, this people group is a field ripe for harvest.

Because Bangladesh is one of the poorest nations in the world, the Bengalis are forced to deal with destruction, death and loss each year as waters from the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna rivers flood more than half the countryside. Each year, homes, fields, animals and even family members are washed away in the floods.

Despite this, the Bengalis are a proud people with deep ties to both their heritage and their communities. The majority of Bengalis live in adobe huts and earn their livelihood through farming and making jute, a fiber which is used to make ropes, mats and bags. Many Bengalis also live in extended family homes. Many marriages are arranged and once the young couple weds, they will often live within only a short distance of parents and other relatives.

Although the number of Christians working with the Bengalis is unknown, it is thought evangelicals make up less than one half of one percent of the population. However, recent church plants have been encouraging and multiple agencies and church groups are actively seeking to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with this massive people group. Christian witnessing, radio broadcasting and audio and film recordings are being used to share scripture with the Bengalis of Bangladesh.

For more information about this people group, visit the following websites:

For more information on mission agencies serving in Bangladesh, visit:

(Information compiled from and Window on the World)

Laurie Fortunak Nichols is editorial coordinator of Lausanne World Pulse. She also serves as editorial coordinator for the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College and managing editor and book review editor of Evangelical Missions Quarterly (EMQ). She has edited a number of books, including the recent Extending God's Kingdom: Church Planting Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow, with A. Scott Moreau and Gary R. Corwin.