World Watch ranking: 15
Map thumbnail
President Barham Salih

How Many Christians?
202,000 (<0.5%)

Main Threats
  • Anti-Christian violence
  • Murder
  • Abduction
  • Community ostracism

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How many Christians are there in Iraq?

There are 202,000 Christians in a population of over 40 million – just under half a per cent of the population.

Why are Christians persecuted in Iraq?

Islamic extremism is still a problem in Iraq. Although the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS) have lost territory in Iraq, their ideology remains. Many of the militants have simply blended back into the general population, and the Shia militias who helped drive out IS also persecute Christian believers.

Meet Bashar

“I’m very thankful to the supporters: they don’t know me, but they trust me.”Bashar, who received a microloan in Iraq

What’s life like for Christians in Iraq?

With your prayers and support, many Christians have been able to return to their communities after fleeing to avoid IS and other Islamic militants. People like Bashar, who had to leave behind his successful factory in Mosul when IS came. He and his family were threatened, and some relatives were even kidnapped and killed.

“The situation was too difficult, especially for our wives and daughters,” remembers Bashar. “We left our houses, factories and everything. All we could take were our clothes.” God kept Bashar and his family strong. “I teach my children that we must trust God in everything,” he says. “I can trust God in all times, whether good or bad.”

Now, thanks to your gifts and prayers, Bashar has been able to open and expand a shop with a microloan provided by Open Doors partners.

But violence against Christians is far from over. Attacks, abductions and murders are still happening, and Christians from Muslim backgrounds are particularly vulnerable. They often have to keep their faith a secret, for fear of reprisals from their families and communities.

How can I help Christians in Iraq?

Please keep praying for your brothers and sisters in Iraq. Your gifts and prayers make an enormous difference to those following Jesus no matter the cost.

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

please pray

Lord Jesus, we praise You that the number of Christians attacked or killed decreased in 2019, and pray that this trend would continue. Please enable Iraqi Christians to return safely to their homes and communities, and give them the strength and hope to rebuild for the future.