Iraqi Arab in Finland

Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

Refugees in Finland are disproportionately from Iraq. There is a small but growing Iraqi Arab population in Finland. Iraqis began to flee to Europe in the 1990s with the first Gulf War. For the next 20 years, that number increased greatly as their country destabilized and new governments began to marginalize those from other religious communities. Others have had to flee because of persecution from rival clans. Most Iraqis in Finland are either living in Helsinki or Turku. Some live further north in Tornio, just inside the Arctic Circle and right on the border with Sweden.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Iraqi Arabs in Finland are there as refugees. Finland is much more likely to accept refugees who come to escape oppressive governments, but many Iraqis have to escape clan violence. Most Iraqis who manage to settle in Europe have money and education. Yet, without the right language skills, it is hard for many to find challenging and well-paid work. There are also a strong anti-immigration efforts in Finland. Some of this is because of a fear of Muslims, but it's also sometimes because Iraqis have a disproportionate rate of being arrested for rape and sexual assault. Though they are rare, there have also been well known situations where Iraqi Arab men have been guilty of attempted "honor" killings of female relatives who defy their norms, and spousal abuse.

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?

Islam has greatly influenced the lives of Iraqi Arabs. Most are either Sunni or Shia Muslim, the latter being unusual for Arabs. The Shias are allied with their religious counterparts over the border in Iran. They are in the category of the "Twelvers," meaning they follow 12 imams (teachers), the 12th being Muhammad ibn al-Hasan, whom they believe will someday return to bring peace and justice to the world. Shia Muslims also stress victimhood and martyrdom, and they commemorate events where their leaders were killed. The latter might be a possible bridge to the death of Christ on the cross. There are also some traditional Christians among the Iraqi Arabs in Finland.

What Are Their Needs?

Iraqi Arabs in Finland need job training and help getting their visas in order. Believers who know how to deal with government agencies, and landlords can help them get settled. Since they are in a country with freedom of religion, this is an excellent time for someone to take the gospel to these Muslims.

Prayer Points

Pray for the Lord to direct Iraqi Arabs in his ways as they settle in Finland. Pray for Iraqi Arabs in Finland to know God as their provider and lean on him. 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.

Scripture Prayers for the Arab, Iraqi in Finland.

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 16,000
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 Finland
Region Europe, Western
Continent Europe
10/40 Window No
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Country Finland
Region Europe, Western
Continent Europe
10/40 Window No
National Bible Society Website
Persecution Rank Not ranked
Primary Religion: Islam
Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.20 %)
3.00 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
0.00 %
97.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %
Primary Language Arabic, Mesopotamian (16,000 speakers)
Language Code acm   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Arabic, Mesopotamian (16,000 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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