Map Source: Bethany World Prayer Center
|People Name:||Arab, Iraqi|
|Primary Language:||Arabic, Mesopotamian Spoken|
|Christian Adherents:||2.00 %|
|Online Audio NT:||No|
|People Cluster:||Arab, Levant|
|Affinity Bloc:||Arab World|
Arabs from the Arabian Peninsula are considered to be the original Arabs. Their culture was developed by tribes of nomads and villagers who lived in the Arabian Desert for many centuries. It was from there that Arab migrations began, eventually leading to the expansion of the Arab world into Iraq and beyond. Iraqi Arabs are descended from a cluster of people groups called the Levant Arabs, who originally settled all over the Arabian Peninsula and later migrated to North Africa. Their migration has spread from Israel to Kuwait and as far east as Iran. "Levant" is a broad term that includes several groups of Arabs: the Iraqi, Jordanian, Palestinian, Arabic Jewish, Chaldean, and Syrian Arabs. Modern day Iraq encompasses the home of the ancient Sumerian, Assyrian and Babylonian empires. Iraq was occupied by Britain during World War I and gained its independence in 1931.
Most Iraqi Arabs live in Iraq, but there are a number of them who have had to flee for their lives because of violence and mayhem that happened after Saddam Hussein was driven from power in 2003. As Iraq continues to be unstable, more Iraqi refugees continue to flow into Europe, usually starting in southern countries like Greece, Italy, and Spain. Because these countries have weaker economies than countries like England and Germany, the immigrants try to find their way to other places where they can find jobs and re-build their lives.
The Iraqi Arabs in Italy today reside mostly in the major cities such as Rome, Milan and Naples. The urban environment of city life, as well as the constant exposure to Western culture, has caused disruption in the traditionally close family and tribal ties that have been maintained in Iraq. Despite hopes of economic stability in Europe, many of the Iraqi Arabs have found it difficult to locate jobs with adequate pay. In addition, they often face discrimination and even threat of expulsion from Italy, due to ethnicity and legal status. Even those who do not face such challenges are confronted with the radically different cultures of European peoples, and assimilation is by no means easy.
Iraqi Arabs can be either Sunni or Shia Muslim. There is much hostility between these two branches of Islam in Iraq, especially these religious labels are commonly used as rallying points for those who wish to take political control by force. Though there was contact with traditional Christians in Iraq, most of those were not bold enough to share their faith.
Iraqis in Italy are in desperate need of jobs, as well as passage to countries that have them. They need to find the opportunity to re-build their lives in Italy and other European countries.
Pray for a chain reaction of families in Italy reaching Iraqi Arab families resulting in thousands of new believers who help establish a movement to Christ among the Arabs in Europe. Pray for grace and truth expanding into the entire Iraqi Arab society as all believers learn to love others. Pray that churches and believers will bless their entire people group in such a way that God's love will change Iraqi Arabs like yeast changes dough.