Pakistani Immigrants May Not Be What You Imagine

What do you think of when you think of Pakistan? Maybe the strike on Osama Bin Laden comes to mind. Maybe you imagine Malala and the picture of Pakistan she paints–a beautiful place with some unfortunate and dangerous influences. Perhaps your mouth waters as you think about the delicious food. Pakistanis represent a diverse group of mostly Muslim peoples. Over 500 significantly unreached people groups comprise the country of Pakistan. For North America, we combine those groups under the single label of Pakistani. They are the largest Muslim group on the UPG Priority Matrix. Substantial populations of Pakistani immigrants live in 25 different metro areas in North America. Toronto and New York have the largest populations, with over 100,000 Pakistani Muslims. Learning more about Pakistani immigrants helps us understand how to reach them. 

Significantly Unreached

In Pakistan, there is a significant group of historically Christian people. This is why Pakistanis mostly occupy the second half of our top 200 most significant unreached people groups. Theoretically, there are close cultural Christians who could reach out to their Muslim neighbors. Yet there is a significant divide between the small Christian sub-culture and the majority Muslim culture. So Pakistani Muslims remain largely unreached.

A Changing Population

Pakistan is a young and ever-changing country. The tech industry is significantly impacting some of those changes. Current, and especially future, Pakistani immigrants will likely look very different from the previous generation of Pakistani immigrants. Instead of emigrating and taking jobs as taxi-drivers and restaurant owners, they are coming as tech workers and start-up CEO’s. 

Additionally, a growing portion of the Pakistanis in North America are second-generation immigrants. This means their parents emigrated to North America, but the kids were born here. Often these kids have been pushed to make the most of their opportunities and are highly successful. Pakistanis, especially second-generation ones, are often computer engineers, lawyers, and doctors. This group breaks many of the rules of their parents’ generations. They practice Islam differently from their parents. They date instead of having arranged marriages and even marry non-Pakistanis. 

Pakistanis in North America

Often when people think about doing ministry cross-culturally among immigrants, they think of helping them practically. Welcoming them to America, helping with English, getting donations for them. Learning about Pakistani immigrants will likely show that they are a different kind of immigrant–one who is definitely not in need of our social services or justice-oriented ministries. They simply need to hear the gospel from people who are really living it out. Computer Engineer Christian co-workers can befriend them and share the love of Christ. They need people to introduce them to the Jesus of the Bible, who is often different from the Jesus their imam introduced to them. Are you willing to be that person?

*To download the featured image and other infographics, visit our UPG page.