Arab, Iraqi in New Zealand

Map Source:  Bethany World Prayer Center
People Name: Arab, Iraqi
Country: New Zealand
10/40 Window: No
Population: 3,000
World Population: 21,994,000
Primary Language: Arabic, Mesopotamian
Primary Religion: Islam
Christian Adherents: 3.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.40 %
Scripture: New Testament
Online Audio NT: Yes
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Arab, Levant
Affinity Bloc: Arab World
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Arab Iraqis constitute the largest group of Arab Middle East migrants in New Zealand. A high percentage of them are Christian refugees, though the Muslim majority is also well-represented.

The Iraqis, who are mostly well educated, arrived in New Zealand after the Gulf War in the early 1990s. Growing numbers live in North Shore, Auckland while others live mostly in Wellington.

What Are Their Lives Like?

Upon arrival in the 1990s, most Iraqis found it difficult to find employment. More recently, many of them became self-employed. Some work in Iraqi clinics and industrial businesses.

The Iraqis in New Zealand like to keep their culture. They speak their Iraqi Arab as well as English and other languages.

What Are Their Beliefs?

62% of Iraqi Arabs in New Zealand are Muslims who practice Shia Islam while 30% practice Sunni Islam. The remaining ones practice South Asian religions or Eastern Orthodox and Protestant Christianity.

Shia practices tend toward the ecstatic while Sunni practices tend to be simple and staid. Shias affirm human free will and differ with Sunnis in matters of law and ceremony. Unlike the Sunnis, the Shias believe that Mohammed's successor should be someone in his bloodline, namely Ali. Because some of their leaders have died violent deaths, Shias understood that a righteous man can be killed by the unrighteous. For this reason, Christ's death on a Roman cross isn't as foreign to them as it is to Sunnis. Only about 15% of the world's Muslims are Shia; most of the rest are Sunni.

To live a righteous life you must utter the Shahada (a statement of faith), pray five times a day facing Mecca, fast from sunup to sundown during the month of Ramadan, give alms to the poor and make a pilgrimage to Mecca if you have the means. Muslims are prohibited from drinking alcohol, eating pork, gambling, stealing, and making idols. They gather for corporate prayer on Friday afternoons at their place of worship, a mosque.

What Are Their Needs?

Economically, some Iraqi Arabs still need job training and counseling.

Spiritually, Iraqi Arabs need to hear the gospel in their language and to submit to Jesus Christ so they can experience the abundant life only he can offer (John 10:10).

Prayer Points

Pray for Holy Spirit-lead workers to be sent to proclaim the gospel to Iraqi Arabs.

Pray for the Holy Spirit to open Iraqi Arab hearts to the gospel.

Pray for the Lord to provide for their physical and spiritual needs as a testimony of his power and love.

Pray for an indigenous church planting movement amongst Iraqi Arabs.

Text Source:   Joshua Project