11

Iraq

Iraq

World Watch List Rank 11
World Watch List Score 82/100
Leader President Barham Salih
Population  41,503,000 | 175,000 Christians
Main Religion Islam
WWL Rank in 2020 15
Persecution Level Extreme Persecution

After years of violence, an uncertain peace has come to Iraq – but 2020 saw recurrent violent protests and the instability in Iraq is a catalyst for the ongoing persecution of Christians. 
 
Christians from a Muslim background often keep their faith secret, because of the pressure and threats they are likely to receive from extended family members, clan leaders and the wider society. Christian converts risk losing inheritance rights or the right to marry – and they are not allowed to marry Christians, as the law still considers them Muslim.  
 
Islamic extremists remain active in Iraq, attacking and kidnapping Christians. The government also discriminates against Christians in various contexts, from the workplace to check points. Blasphemy laws can also be used against those who try to spread the Gospel.

What changed this year?

Persecution faced in public and private life has not changed significantly, but the level of violence faced by Christians has increased sharply in the past year – which is largely the reason that Iraq has risen in ranks from number 15 to number 11 in the World Watch List. This is due to more reports of churches being closed after attacks by Turkey in northern Iraq, and a slight increase in the number of Christians were abducted.   

HOW WE HELP

Open Doors works through local partners and churches to support Christians in Iraq through Bible distribution, various forms of training, emergency and crisis relief, and microloans and livelihood projects for long-term self-reliance.  

PRAY FOR IRAQ

  • Pray that peace would come to Iraq and into the hearts of Christians there.
  • Pray that God would turn the hearts of Iraq’s leaders to Him. Pray that they will be given wisdom to lead their country with righteousness and mercy. 
  • Praise God for the amazing opportunities that people experience when it comes to sharing the gospel. Pray for a holy thirst and hunger among the people of Iraq for God. 
Pray for Iraq

RECENT STORIES FROM Iraq

Returning to a broken place

14th Dec 2020

Found in Prayer News

Mathi hangs the cross up on his living room wall and steps back. He looks around the room, which is slowly looking more and more…

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"Christians belong here. Come back."

24th Nov 2020

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After being displaced by the Islamic State in 2014, about 200 Iraqi Christian families are preparing to return to their homes in the city of…

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"I want peace for Christmas."

17th Nov 2020

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The name “Emmanuel” means “God with us”. It is a beautiful promise of hope, especially for the children celebrating Christmas far away from their home.…

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Ten Prayer requests for Iraq

17th Oct 2020

Found in Prayer News

Christianity in Iraq is slowly disappearing. After years of violence and oppression, more and more believers are leaving Iraq. In the past 30 years, nearly…

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Prayer requests for the Middle East

17th Sep 2020

Found in Prayer News

Persecution continues for our brothers and sisters in the Middle East. The following are a number of recent requests for prayer. Will you commit to…

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Hope for the Middle East

09th Sep 2020

Found in Podcast

Christianity has been disappearing from Iraq. Since 2003, the number of Christians has decreased by 87%. And if something isn't done, Christianity could disappear entirely.…

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Hope for the victims of the Islamic State

28th Aug 2020

Found in Prayer News

Six years after militants calling themselves the Islamic State (IS) attacked Iraq’s Yazidi community and thousands of Christians in the Nineveh Plains, the victims are still waiting for justice, writes…

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Christianity in Iraq might disappear

04th Aug 2020

Found in Prayer News

A new report warns that “without immediate concerted action,” Christianity in Iraq might be close to eradication in four years’ time. There are just over…

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Iraq: Mosul's streets still unsafe

02nd Jul 2020

Found in Prayer News

It’s been six years since the self-proclaimed Islamic State invaded the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. The shelled-out homes and the rubble-lined streets are reminders of…

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Prayer for Iraq

02nd May 2020

Found in Prayer News

An ISIS Resurgence on the move Pray for Christians in Iraq    The government of Iraq is dealing with a deadlier threat than Covid-19. The…

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CHRISTMAS IN IRAQ

14th Dec 2018

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“We waited for three years,” says Merna, a young Christian woman in the Christmas season of 2017. “This year Christmas will be very different because…

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