(Reading time: 1 - 2 minutes)

A Kurdish Christian taxi driver, Ziwar Mohamad Ismaeel, was shot dead February 17 in the city of Zakho in the Kurdistan region of Iraq when he refused to deny Christ.

Ziwar came to faith in Christ seven years ago and was very open about his faith. Several times he had received threats on his life. "With Jesus on my side, I have nothing to fear," he told friends. "Even when they kill me, I will never deny Christ." After his conversion, the local Muslim mullah advised his family that he should be killed as an apostate. He was taken captive by relatives who threatened to kill him if he did not recant. He refused and was rescued by friends. He had been arrested twice in recent years in connection with his faith but was never charged. Last June, after having been arrested again for two weeks, he lost his job and started working as a cab driver.

Apparently, on Monday, he received a call from a client. Sitting down with a cup of tea, the client asked him to renounce his faith and return to Islam. When Ziwar refused, the man shot him 28 times with a machine gun shouting, "Allah u Akbar!" Other taxi drivers reportedly apprehended his assassin after the shooting. Ziwar was married with five children. According to a report from Open Doors on February 20, his family had refused to claim his body and bury him.

Pray for Ziwar's wife and children during this time of grief. Pray for the family members who have opposed him. Pray that he will continue to be a testimony, both through his life and now his death.

Current Ministry Project

By working with credible ministry partners, VOMC is providing persecuted Christian women sewing skills training so they can receive a sustainable source of income and thus adequately support their families. In addition, these women are able to seize the opportunities presented to them through their new businesses by serving as effective witnesses for Christ.

Project Fund: Women’s Ministry

Country Information

39,650,145 (July 2021 est.)

Ethnicity (%)
Arab (75-80), Kurdish (15-20), Turkoman, Assyrian, and other (5)

Religion (%)
Islam (95-98), Christianity (1), other (1-4)

President Barham Salih (2018)

Government type
Federal parliamentary republic

Legal system

Mixed legal system of civil and Islamic law

Source: CIA World Factbook

Pray for Iraq

Pray for the protection of the remaining believers in Iraq during this time of upheaval and danger. May many churches and Christian relief organizations seize the opportunity to provide greatly needed assistance and ministry to the numerous suffering people of this war-torn nation. As God’s work of healing, provision and restoration takes place, pray that a stable democratic government will be established.


Select a Region

Iraq News

  • Oppression of Iraqi Believers
    Man's hands holding a gospel tract
    Those caught evangelizing could face blasphemy charges.
    Photo: VOMC

    A recent report from the American Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East highlights the desperate circumstances facing many Iraqi Christians – both those residing in their country as well as those living as refu

  • Aid Workers Released
    Devastation from the war
    Some of the devastation
    from the conflict in Iraq.
    Photo: World Watch Monitor

    On January 20th, four humanitarian aid workers from the French organization, SOS Chretiens d'Orient, went missing while in Baghdad. Details were limited, providing no information on those responsible nor the reasons behind

  • Four Foreign Aid Workers Missing
    Devastation in Iraq
    Some of the devastation from the conflict in Iraq.
    Photo: World Watch Monitor

    On January 20th, four workers affiliated with the French organization, SOS Chretiens d'Orient, went missing while in Baghdad. Despite repeated attempts to contact them, no response has been received to date. At last report

  • Families Again Forced to Flee Hometown

    Hilla, Iraq

    Hundreds of Iraqi Christian families had recently returned to their hometown of Teleskuf, after being displaced for years due to attacks perpetrated by the self-proclaimed Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist group, only to be forced to flee their northern Iraq community all over again. These families hav