Arab, Iraqi in Denmark

Map Source:  Bethany World Prayer Center
People Name: Arab, Iraqi
Country: Denmark
10/40 Window: No
Population: 34,000
World Population: 17,694,500
Primary Language: Arabic, Mesopotamian Spoken
Primary Religion: Islam
Christian Adherents: 1.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.20 %
Scripture: New Testament
Online Audio NT: No
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Arab, Levant
Affinity Bloc: Arab World
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

While there are several characteristics that determine whether or not a person is a true Arab, one trait is always evident: a proud sense of being an Arab. Their physical, geographical and religious aspects all vary greatly; however, the ability to speak Arabic (or an Arabic dialect) and identification with the Arabian cultural heritage are, perhaps, the two most essential elements. In the modern Arab world, traditional values have been altered. This can be attributed to the pressure to urbanize, industrialize, and de-tribalize. Modern Arabs often live in urbanized settings, disrupting the traditional family and tribal ties.

Where Are they Located?

Today, few modern Arabs live as nomadic desert shepherds, and significant Arab communities now live in almost all European countries including Denmark. Among these Arabs are those who fled Iraq since 1990 when political and religious tensions increased.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Most diaspora Arabs now identify by nation rather than by tribe. Though they constitute the largest Arab ethnic group in the country, the experiences of Iraqi Arabs in Denmark are less than stellar. Immersion into Western culture, including Western education and societal pressure has produced much tension for the Iraqi Arab Disapora, and their traditional culture and way of life has changed greatly. Even traditional religious practices have at times been laid by the wayside to accommodate the assimilation of local lifestyles. Beyond the clash of cultures, however, lies greater difficulty, as the immigrants find themselves unwelcome in their new home. The culture of Denmark is considered progressive, though it resembles a finely run machine with every member of society playing their part to contribute to everything that the nation is and does. High wages and generous benefits for all come with the requirements that all follow the rules, adopt the national mindset and culture, and work hard to pour into the nation's coffers. The influx of tens of thousands of immigrants with a culture of their own has caused more than a slight disruption to the system, and many of the Danes are highly concerned about the economic and cultural future of their country. Differences between the cultures have led to clashes ranging from awkwardness at inadvertent breaking of social norms, through active shunning, to violence and assault. Assimilation is difficult for Iraqi who have little in common with their Danish neighbors.

What Are Their Beliefs?

It was early in the seventh century that Mohammed first preached the tenets of Islam to the Arabs. His successors quickly spread the word of Allah far and wide. Wherever Arabs went, they left elements of their Arab culture, including their Islamic religion. The historical link between Arabs and the Islamic religion is still very strong. Today, most Arabs are Muslims who belong to a variety of sects: the Shia, the Alawi, the Zaidi, and the Sunni. Sunni Muslims are the majority group. Iraqi Arabs in Denmark can be either Sunni or Shia Muslims.

What Are Their Needs?

Iraqi Muslims in Denmark need to know that they are loved and accepted by the God of heaven despite the rejection by some. They need to find acceptance and aid as they labor to assimilate into a foreign country with a foreign worldview.

Prayer Points

Ask the Lord to call people who are willing to reach out and share the love of Christ with them. Pray that God will raise up faithful intercessors who will stand in the gap for the Iraqi Arabs. Ask God to strengthen, encourage, and protect the small number of Arabs who have decided to follow Christ in Europe. Ask the Holy Spirit to burden the hearts of Danish followers of Christ to minister to the Iraqi Arabs with genuine love and hospitality. Ask the Lord to raise up strong disciple making movements among the Arabs in Denmark.

Text Source:   Joshua Project