Arab, North Iraqi in Turkey

Arab, North Iraqi
Photo Source:  National Archives  Creative Commons 
Send Joshua Project a map of this people group.
People Name: Arab, North Iraqi
Country: Turkey
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 587,000
World Population: 11,192,000
Primary Language: Arabic, North Mesopotamian Spoken
Primary Religion: Islam
Christian Adherents: 0.50 %
Evangelicals: 0.10 %
Scripture: New Testament
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Arab, Levant
Affinity Bloc: Arab World
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

Most of the Iraqi Arabs who live in Turkey arrived as refugees either in the late 1980s during the war between Iraq and Iran, or in the early part of the Gulf War in 1991. There were a large number of Kurds who came as well as Arabs. Turkey was a preferred destination because it was close to Iraq. The Turkish government made sure there was not a new influx of Iraqis entering their country after Gulf War 2 in 2003. There are some newer refugees that arrived around 2014 because of ISIS attacks in Iraq. Some of these have returned to Iraq. Most Iraqi Arab refugees in Turkey are now settled in Istanbul.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Unfortunately, many of the Iraqi Arabs in Turkey are not yet established or settled into new lives in the new country. They sometimes face abuse from the Turks who are tired of having an increasing number of refugees in their country. These Iraqis have an ally in the charity Carita, which helps both Muslim and Christian refugees in Turkey. Over half of these Iraqis in Turkey are male, and they tend to be young. The Turkish government expects the Iraqi Arabs to eventually leave Turkey, and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) helps them to resettle Iraqi Arabs in other countries. It seems unlikely that Iraqi Arabs will be able to settle in Turkey and begin new jobs.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Though there is a slight majority of Shia Muslims among Iraqi Arabs, the Sunnis are more likely to be refugees in other countries like Turkey. Both Shia and Sunni Muslims believe that the One, Supreme God, Allah, spoke through his prophet, Mohammed, and taught mankind how to live a righteous life through the Koran and the Hadith. 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, slandering, and making idols. They gather for corporate prayer on Friday afternoons at a mosque, their place of worship. The two main holidays for Sunni Muslims are Eid al Fitr, the breaking of the monthly fast and Eid al Adha, the celebration of Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son to Allah. Like most other Arab Muslims, Iraqis depend on the spirit world for their daily needs since they regard Allah as too distant. Allah may determine their eternal salvation, but the spirits determine how well we live in our daily lives. For that reason, they must appease the spirits. The often use charms and amulets to help them with spiritual forces. There are also some traditional Christians among the Iraqi Arabs in Turkey.

What Are Their Needs?

Iraqi Arabs in Turkey need to find a permanent home where there is peace and they can do productive work. Most likely, they need to leave Turkey.

Prayer Points

Pray for Iraqi Arabs in Turkey to know God as their provider and lean on him. Pray for the Lord to direct Iraqi Arabs in his ways and help them to put their identity in Christ. Pray for a movement to Christ that cannot be stopped. Pray for Iraqi Arab communities to become open to the influence of Jesus Christ in their lives.

Text Source:   Joshua Project