Introduction / History Modern day Iraq is the location of the ancient Sumerian, Assyrian, and Babylonian empires. Iraq was occupied by Britain during World War I. In 1932, Iraq gained independence from the UK.
The Iraqi Arabs descended from a people group cluster called the Levant Arabs. "Levant" is a broad term that includes several groups of Arabs: the Iraqi, Jordanian, Palestinian, Arabic Jewish, Chaldean, and Syrian Arabs. The Levant Arabs originally settled all over the Arabian Peninsula and later migrated to North Africa. They are spread from Israel to Kuwait and as far east as Iran.
The Arabs are the majority ethnic group in Iraq, though they are divided by religious community.
There have been many waves of Iraqis fleeing war since the 1980s. Being located to the north of Iraq, and being a peaceful country, Turkey has been a preferred destination for Iraqi Arab refugees.
Where are they located? Most Iraqi Arabs in Turkey are in the capital city of Istanbul.
What are their lives like? They are hoping to either settle in a different country or return to Iraq. For that reason, the Iraqi Arabs are usually in a holding pattern, biding their time in refugee camps. They will not be able to return to Iraq until the fighting ends and the infrastructure is restored.
What are their beliefs? The Iraqi Arabs who left Iraq for Turkey are from a number of religious communities: There are Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims, Alawites, Yezidis, and Christians.
What are their needs? Iraqi Arabs want a safe place to live and raise their families. They want to live in peace, but peace eludes them in their home country. They go to Turkey, usually as a way-station to Europe, the United States, or a temporary home while their country is at war. Many would prefer to return home.
Prayer Points * Pray that the Iraqi Arabs will find a safe home where they can prosper physically and spiritually.
* Pray that the Iraqi Arabs, no matter what religious community they begin with, will seek and find spiritual refuge in Jesus. Pray for them to learn to live like Jesus, and share His ways with others.
* Pray for a Christ-oriented church planting movement to begin among Arab Iraqis in Turkey.