Iraqi Arab in New Zealand

Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

The Arab Iraqis constitute the largest group of Arab Middle East migrants in New Zealand. A high percentage of them are Christian refugees, though the Muslim majority is also well-represented.

The Iraqis, who are mostly well educated, arrived in New Zealand after the Gulf War in the early 1990s. Growing numbers live in North Shore, Auckland while others live mostly in Wellington.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Upon arrival in the 1990s, most Iraqis found it difficult to find employment. More recently, many of them became self-employed. Some work in Iraqi clinics and industrial businesses.

The Iraqis in New Zealand like to keep their culture. They speak their Iraqi Arab as well as English and other languages.

Iraq is presently in turmoil. This offers both obstacles and opportunities for the Iraqi Arabs to learn more fully of who Jesus truly is, but that will require believers to obey the Lord faithfully.
What Are Their Beliefs?

62% of Iraqi Arabs in New Zealand are Muslims who practice Shia Islam while 30% practice Sunni Islam. The remaining ones practice South Asian religions or Eastern Orthodox and Protestant Christianity.

Shia practices tend toward the ecstatic while Sunni practices tend to be simple and staid. Shias affirm human free will and differ with Sunnis in matters of law and ceremony. Unlike the Sunnis, the Shias believe that Mohammed's successor should be someone in his bloodline, namely Ali. Because some of their leaders have died violent deaths, Shias understood that a righteous man can be killed by the unrighteous. For this reason, Christ's death on a Roman cross isn't as foreign to them as it is to Sunnis. Only about 15% of the world's Muslims are Shia; most of the rest are Sunni.

To live a righteous life you must utter the Shahada (a statement of faith), pray five times a day facing Mecca, fast from sunup to sundown during the month of Ramadan, give alms to the poor and make a pilgrimage to Mecca if you have the means. Muslims are prohibited from drinking alcohol, eating pork, gambling, stealing, and making idols. They gather for corporate prayer on Friday afternoons at their place of worship, a mosque.

What Are Their Needs?

Economically, some Iraqi Arabs still need job training and counseling.

Spiritually, Iraqi Arabs need to hear the gospel in their language and to submit to Jesus Christ so they can experience the abundant life only he can offer (John 10:10).

Prayer Points

Pray for Holy Spirit-lead workers to be sent to proclaim the gospel to Iraqi Arabs.

Pray for the Holy Spirit to open Iraqi Arab hearts to the gospel.

Pray for the Lord to provide for their physical and spiritual needs as a testimony of his power and love.

Pray for an indigenous church planting movement amongst Iraqi Arabs.

Scripture Prayers for the Arab, Iraqi in New Zealand.

References in New Zealand

Profile Source:   Joshua Project  

People Name General Arab, Iraqi
People Name in Country Arab, Iraqi
Natural Name Iraqi Arab
Pronunciation ee-RAH-kee AE-rub
Alternate Names Arab, Mesopotamian Speakers; Arab-Mesopotamian; Iraqi Arab; Iraqi Arabs; Mesopotamian Spoken; North Iraqi Arab
Population this Country 3,000
Population all Countries 21,994,000
Total Countries 24
Indigenous No
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group No
Pioneer Workers Needed 1
People ID 12247
ROP3 Code 104056
ROP25 Code 300404
ROP25 Name Arab, Iraqi
Country New Zealand
Region Australia and Pacific
Continent Oceania
10/40 Window No
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Country New Zealand
Region Australia and Pacific
Continent Oceania
10/40 Window No
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Primary Religion: Islam
Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.40 %)
3.00 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
0.00 %
97.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %
Primary Language Arabic, Mesopotamian (3,000 speakers)
Language Code acm   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Arabic, Mesopotamian (3,000 speakers)
Language Code acm   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Arabic, Mesopotamian
Photo Source Christiaan Briggs - Wikimedia  Creative Commons 
Map Source Bethany World Prayer Center  
Profile Source Joshua Project 
Data Sources Data is compiled from various sources. Learn more.

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