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Region Middle East
Leader President Faud Masum
Population 38 654 000
Christian 0.7%
Main Religion Islam
Government Federal Parliamentary Republic
Rank 8
Score 86
Previous Rank 7
Previous Score 86

“Please keep supporting us because we have a lot more to do.”

Christians have lived in Iraq for two millennia but are currently on the verge of extinction (around 70% of the Christians in Iraq have left since the 1990s). The rise of Islamic State (IS) in 2014 took a huge toll on the country – many fled areas controlled by IS and other Islamic extremists.

Iraq’s slightly lower position is mostly explained by the Islamic State losing territory in the country. However, its ideology is not dead and has influenced the local population. Although some Christian families have returned to their homes, the emigration of Christians continues due to fear and a lack of hope for a good future. For Christians in the north of the country, the aftermath of the referendum on Kurdish independence has also played a role in this desire to leave. Acts of violence against ‘mainstream’ Christians are mostly committed by radical Islamic militant groups or individuals, whereas converts from Islam mostly face violence from their (extended) families.

To help Christians suffering from persecution, Open Doors works with local partners to provide training, Bibles, microloans, building materials, crisis relief and other support they need to remain the light in their war-torn nation.

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