Violent persecution rose in Iraq, making life more dangerous for Christians.


“Now our existence is threatened… My big dream is that the youth will stay, that they become the salt and light of this country.”

– Bishop Daniel, Church Leader


Middle East
Sources of persecution
Islamic Oppression
Christian population
Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani

What’s Life Like For Christians?

Violent persecution rose this year, making an already difficult place for Christians an even harder place to follow Jesus. Additionally, parts of Iraq that had traditionally been more tolerant of conversion have become more dangerous for anyone wishing to leave Islam to follow Jesus.

Aside from these factors, the situation in much of Iraq remains difficult. Christians in all areas live under pressure because they follow Jesus, and many church communities continue to deal with the fallout of the Islamic State group’s reign of terror.

The Christian community continues to rebuild and restore as it heals from the horrors of the Islamic State group.

The historic Christian communities in Iraq also face issues with persecution and discrimination, particularly from Islamic extremist groups and non-Christian leaders. In places where they are the significant minority—like central and southern Iraq—Christians often do not publicly display Christian symbols, as it can lead to harassment or mistreatment at checkpoints, universities, workplaces, or governmental offices. Christians from both historic and newer denominations can face discrimination from the government; any outspoken Christian group can also be accused of blasphemy if it’s deemed it is sharing the gospel with Muslims. 

Street scene in Iraq

Who Is Most Vulnerable To Persecution?

Christians who convert from Islam are most at risk of persecution.

Christian women in Iraq report receiving vulgar comments and sexual harassment due to a false perception that Christian women and girls are “loose.” This abuse can even happen in the workplace. Because of this immense fear for their daughters, Christian families may take the entire family out of Iraq to protect them. Women from historically Christian communities who were sexually enslaved by the Islamic State endure ongoing trauma.

Pray for Iraq

– Ask God to help Christians and church leaders persevere through unfair treatment.

– Pray that churches and Christians continue to deepen their roots in Iraq.

– Pray for Open Doors’ work supporting trauma care in Iraq.

What Does Open Doors Do To Help?

Open Doors’ local partners strengthen the church in Iraq with training, trauma care, the delivery of Bibles and Christian books, livelihood projects and microloans, help to rebuild homes and churches, and crisis relief

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