Arab, Iraqi in Netherlands

Map Source:  Bethany World Prayer Center
People Name: Arab, Iraqi
Country: Netherlands
10/40 Window: No
Population: 68,000
World Population: 21,538,900
Primary Language: Arabic, Mesopotamian
Primary Religion: Islam
Christian Adherents: 1.60 %
Evangelicals: 0.20 %
Scripture: New Testament
Online Audio NT: Yes
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Arab, Levant
Affinity Bloc: Arab World
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

Iraqis began to flee to the Netherlands 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, especially Christians and Sunni Muslims. Others have had to flee because of persecution from rival clans.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Like other refugees in the Netherlands, the Iraqi Arabs are struggling with learning a new language, getting situated with a home and finding work. They live in a land where there is tremendous temptations, which is likely to cause other problems. Most likely, they put "Christians" in the same category as those who want prostitution and drugs to be legal. Most of the Iraqi Arabs in the Netherlands are young men. A little over half of them are married, which will lead to their wives and children joining them at some time. These men often have a good education and some degree of wealth, but they are often unemployed. Socially, Iraqi Arabs are not as likely to learn Dutch as they need to in order to fit in. They don't usually get involved with social and political activities. Yet those that are willing to integrate tend to make Dutch friends and find social acceptance. There is a surprisingly high number of Iraqis who marry Dutch people.

Iraq is in turmoil. This offers both obstacles and opportunities for Iraqi Arabs to learn more fully of who Jesus truly is, but that will require believers to faithfully obey the Lord.

What Are Their Beliefs?

Islam has greatly influenced the lives of Iraqi Arabs. Most are either Sunni or Shia Muslim. 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 Mohammad 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 the Netherlands.

What Are Their Needs?

Iraqi Arabs in the Netherlands 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 life-changing gospel to these Muslims.

Prayer Points

Pray for the Lord to direct Iraqi Arabs in his ways as they settle in the Netherlands.
Pray for Iraqi Arabs in the Netherlands 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.

Text Source:   Joshua Project