Iraq

World watch list rank: #8

Leader: President Fuad Masum

Population: 37.5 million (250,000 Christians)

Main religion: Islam

Government: Parliamentary democracy

Source of persecution: Islamic extremism

Pray

"Lord, we pray for the thousands of refugees who left behind everything as they fled ISIS. We pray that You would strengthen Your church in Iraq as they look to serve them."
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Visit the Open Doors website to find out more about the situation in Iraq

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Islamic extremism and anti-Western (and by association anti-Christian) feeling has been growing since the US-led invasion of Iraq, which has led to the rise of Islamic State (IS).

The extremist group has violently taken over around half of the nation, telling Christians and other minorities to convert, pay a high tax or face the sword; most Christians have fled to the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan or abroad.

Few, if any, Christians remain in IS-controlled Iraq; churches have been demolished, unauthorised gatherings are banned, and disobedience can lead to public execution.

In partnership with churches and partner organisations, Open Doors is able to provide aid through a variety of projects including care for refugee families through monthly relief packs, trauma training, Bibles and spiritual support.

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