Northern Luri in Iraq

Main Language
Largest Religion
Progress Gauge

Introduction / History

The homes of the Luri in Iraq are in the Zagros Mountains, which are situated in the eastern portion of the country. Many people believe that the Luri were the original inhabitants of southwestern Iran. Others suggest that they immigrated there from Syria during the seventh century A.D.
The Luri speak a language, also called Luri, that is very similar to modern Persian, or Farsi. Since the Luri men regularly have contacts outside their own communities, they are generally bilingual. The women, however, usually only speak Luri.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Like most other shepherds of the Zagros, the Luri live as nomads, traveling six to eight months out of the year and living in black goat-hair tents. They only live in permanent dwellings for a few months during the winter. From October to April, they live in low-lying pastures; but in the dry season, they move their flocks to high mountain pastures. The Luri believe that a shepherd's success is determined by his personal qualities and good luck.
Luri society is dominated by those possessing the largest herds and the most money. This upper class hires members of the lower class to tend to their flocks. Most of the Luri belong to the lower class of society. They depend on the upper class for jobs and economic support. Shepherds of small herds are often forced to hire out their sons to the large herd owners so that they might earn a sufficient income.
The more settled Luri prefer farming over shepherding. They live in permanent villages all year round, as opposed to moving from place to place. Wheat and barley are their principal crops.
The Luri are divided into political units called tribes, or "il." Each tribe is headed by a hereditary chief, or khan, who is recruited by one of the sub-tribes. A yearly tax on grains and animals provides financial support for the khan.
Each tribe consists of several distinct sub-tribes. Each sub-tribe, or "oulad," is made up of several families that have a common ancestor. The sub-tribes are divided into small villages of three to eight "tent households." The tent household includes a husband, wife, and children along with their flock of sheep or goats.
The Luri are known for their rich folklore. Their tales glorify the history of each tribal group and describe the adventures of their heroes. They also emphasize such characteristics as honor, loyalty, generosity, and, most importantly, bravery in battle.

What Are Their Beliefs?

The Luri are practicing Shia Muslims. However, unlike many of the Shia who tend to be entirely dogmatic in their beliefs, the Luri have adopted a very practical belief system with simple religious practices. They love shrines dedicated to holy men (founders of various Islamic groups) and use them as pilgrimage sites. Because these shrines are believed to possess healing powers, people with physical and psychological ailments visit them each year in hopes of being cured.

What Are Their Needs?

Some evangelistic materials are available in their language. There are only a few known Luri Christians.
One hindrance in reaching the Luri with the gospel is the fact that they are a nomadic people who travel from place to place. Since they never remain in one place for very long, it will be difficult for anyone to reach them. We must remember, however, that Muslim missionaries reached them hundreds of years ago. It can be done.

Prayer Points

Pray for the Lord to pave the way for the Luri people to hear and respond to Jesus Christ.
Ask the Holy Spirit to soften the hearts of the Luri Muslims towards Christ so that they will be receptive to the gospel.
Pray that God will raise up laborers who understand the Luri culture love them unconditionally.
Ask the Lord to raise up Luri fellowships that will begin other Luri fellowships in Iraq.

Scripture Prayers for the Luri, Northern in Iraq.

Profile Source:   Joshua Project  

People Name General Luri, Northern
People Name in Country Luri, Northern
Natural Name Northern Luri
Pronunciation LOO-ree
Alternate Names Feyli; Lori; Lur; Luri; Lurs
Population this Country 130,000
Population all Countries 2,116,000
Total Countries 2
Indigenous No
Progress Scale 1
Unreached Yes
Frontier People Group Yes
GSEC 1  (per
Pioneer Workers Needed 3
People ID 13158
ROP3 Code 114989
ROP25 Code 304857
ROP25 Name Luri (Iran)
Country Iraq
Region Africa, North and Middle East
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 16  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Country Iraq
Region Africa, North and Middle East
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 16  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Primary Religion: Islam
Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.10 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
0.00 %
99.90 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %
Primary Language Luri, Northern (130,000 speakers)
Language Code lrc   Ethnologue Listing
Language Written Yes   ScriptSource Listing
Total Languages 1
Primary Language Luri, Northern (130,000 speakers)
Language Code lrc   Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages 1
People Groups Speaking Luri, Northern
Photo Source Shadegan - 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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