Iraqi people
Iraqi children
Regions with significant populations
Iraq Iraq 31,234,000 [1]
Syria Syria 2 million+ [2]
Jordan Jordan 500,000 [3]
Iran Iran 500,000 [4]
Turkey Turkey 500,000+ [5]
United Kingdom United Kingdom 450,000 [6]
Egypt Egypt 150,000+ [7]
Germany Germany 150,000+ [8]
United Arab Emirates United Arab Emirates 150,000+ [9]
United States United States 140,000+ [10]

Arabic, Kurdish
Aramaic, Turkmen


Predominantly Islam
Mandaeism and other faiths

Related ethnic groups

Arabs, other Semitic groups, Turks, Persians

The Iraqi people (Arabic: العراقيون ʿIrāqīyūn) (Kurdish: گه‌لی عیراق Îraqîyan) (Aramaic: ܥܡܐ ܥܝܪܩܝܐ ʿIrāqāyā) (Turkish: Iraklılar) are the citizens and those originated from the modern-day nation of Iraq, and do to the history of the Iraqi people, contains many components of a distinct ethnic group.[11]  Iraq shares a glorious history, from the rise of ancient Mesopatamian city-states to the rise of Islamic caliphates and has served as the cradle of civilization and at one point in its history, had been the haven of Islam during the Islamic Golden Age. Arabic and Kurdish are Iraq's national languages.

Cultural historyEdit

The Iraqi people have an ancient cultural history and civilization.[12][13] In ancient and medieval times Mesopotamia was the political and cultural centre of many great empires. The ancient Mesopotamian civilization of Sumer is the oldest known civilization in the world,[14] and thus Iraq is widely known as the cradle of civilization.[12] Iraq remained an important centre of civilization for millennia, up until the Abbasid Caliphate (of which Baghdad was the capital), which was the most advanced empire of the medieval world (see Islamic Golden Age).


Iraqis have historically been a multilingual people, conversant in several languages but having a Semitic lingua franca. Iraqi identity transcends language boundaries and is more associated with geography; the Tigris–Euphrates alluvial plain and its environs.

While Iraqis are often thought of as comprising several ethnic groups, most Iraqis, as a people with an ancient civic culture and tradition of multilingualism, have historically engaged in healthy inter-communal relations,[15] and favoured a common identity,[15] and due to this Iraqis as a whole can be seen to bear some characteristics of an ethnic group.[15]

The single identity and culture of the Iraqi people is most commonly seen in the Iraqi cuisine. Mesopotamian cuisine has changed and evolved since the time of the Sumerians, Akkadians, Babylonians, Assyrians and Abbasids; however several traditional Iraqi dishes have already been traced back to antiquity[16] such as Iraq's national dish Masgouf and Iraq's national cookie Kleicha, which can be traced back to Sumerian times.[17]

Nowadays, the demonym "Iraqi" includes all minorities in the country, such as the Kurds and Turkmen (although these groups often specify their ethnicity by adding a suffix such as "Iraqi Kurdish" or "Iraqi Turkmen"). It is common for Iraqi Arabs to have relatives of Iraqi Kurdish background, and vice versa.

Iraqis trace their ancestry back to the ancient people of the land,[13][18] and are proud of their ancient Mesopotamian roots and legacy,[12][13] which contributed so much to the world.[13]


Iraq's national languages are Arabic and Kurdish. Arabic is spoken as a first language by around 79 percent of Iraqi people, and Kurdish by around 17 percent. The two main regional dialects of Arabic spoken by the Iraqi people are Mesopotamian Arabic (spoken in the Babylonian alluvial plain and Middle Euphrates valley) and North Mesopotamian Arabic (spoken in the Assyrian highlands).[19] The two main dialects of Kurdish spoken by Kurdish Iraqis are Soranî (spoken in the provinces of Arbil and Sulaymaniyah)[20] and Kurmanji (spoken in the province of Dohuk).[20] In addition to Arabic, most Assyrians and some Mandaean Iraqis speak Neo-Aramaic dialects, and around 1 percent of Iraqi people speak Persian and Turkmen respectively.

Iraqi Arabic has an Aramaic substratum.[21]

The vast majority of Kurdish and Aramaic–speaking Iraqis also speak Iraqi Arabic.[20]


Iraq has many devout followers of its religions. In 1968 the Iraqi constitution established Islam as the official religion of the state as the majority of Iraqis (97%) are Muslim (predominantly Shīʻah but also including minority Sunni).

In addition to Islam, many Iraqi people are Christians belonging to various Christian denominations. Assyrians belong to the Chaldean Catholic Church, the Syriac Orthodox Church, and the Assyrian Church of the East. Their numbers inside Iraq have dwindled considerably to around 300,000.

Other religious groups include Mandaeans, Shabaks, Yazidis and followers of other minority religions. Furthermore, Jews had also been present in Iraq in significant numbers historically, but their population dwindled, after virtually all of them fled to Israel between 1949 to 1952.[22][23]


Iraqis form one of the largest diasporas in the world. The Iraqi diaspora is not a sudden exodus but one that has grown rapidly through the 20th century as each generation faced some form of radical transition or political conflict. From 1950 to 1952 Iraq saw a great exodus of roughly 130,000 of its Jewish population under the Israel-led "Operation Ezra and Nehemiah". There were at least two large waves of expatriation of both Christians and Muslims alike. A great number of Iraqis left the country during the regime of Saddam Hussein and large numbers have left during the Second Gulf War and its aftermath. The United Nations estimates that roughly 40% of Iraq's remaining and formerly strong middle-class have fled the country following the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

Notable Iraqis or People of Iraqi OriginEdit





Abd al-Karim Qasim

Qasim in uniform

Faisal I of Iraq

Faisal 1 of Iraq

Ella Shohat

Ella Shohat2

Mohammad al-Baqir Sadr


Ignatius Zakka I Iwas


Naeim Giladi




Omar Fakhri


Bakr Sidqi

Bakr Sidqi

Naguib el-Rihani

Naguib Rihani

Saddam Hussein

Saddam Hussein

Hormuzd Rassam


Munir Bashir

Munir Bashir

Shalmanesar III


Hunayn ibn Ishaq

Hunayn ibn Ishaq

Anna Eshoo

Anna Eshoo

Kadom Al-Sahir

Kadim al-Sahir



See alsoEdit


  8. "Population pressures". ECRE. Archived from the original on 2007-08-07. Retrieved 2007-08-19.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 McIntosh, Jane (2005). Ancient Mesopotamia: New Perspectives. ABC-CLIO. p. 313. ISBN 978-1-57607-965-2. "Iraqis have always been proud of their heritage and of their unique position as guardians of the Cradle of Civilization."
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 Spencer, William (2000). Iraq: Old Land, New Nation in Conflict. Twenty-First Century Books. p. 13. ISBN 978-0-7613-1356-4. "The Iraqi heritage is a proud one. Iraqi ancestors made such contributions to our modern world as a written language, agriculture and the growing of food crops, the building of cities and the urban environment, basic systems of government, and a religious structure centered on gods and goddesses guiding human affairs."
  14. Al-Zahery et al. (Oct. 2011). "In search of the genetic footprints of Sumerians: a survey of Y-chromosome and mtDNA variation in the Marsh Arabs of Iraq". BMC Evolutionary Biology 11: 288. Error: Bad DOI specified. PMC 3215667. PMID 21970613. Retrieved 16 February 2012.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 Marr, Phebe (2003). Iraqi identity.
  16. Nasrallah, Nawal (2003). Delights from the Garden of Eden: A Cookbook and History of the Iraqi Cuisine. 1stBooks. ISBN 1-4033-4793-X.
  17. Marks, Gil (2010). Encyclopedia of Jewish Food. John Wiley & Sons. p. 317. ISBN 0-470-39130-8.
  18. Mili, Amel (2009). Exploring The Relation Between Gender Politics and Representative Government in the Maghreb. ProQuest. p. 92. ISBN 978-1-109-20412-4.
  19. "Country Profile: Iraq". Mongabay. Retrieved 2010-12-10.
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 "The Kurdish language". KRG. Retrieved 2010-12-12.
  21. Muller-Kessler, Christa (Jul. - Sep. 2003). "Aramaic 'K', Lyk' and Iraqi Arabic 'Aku, Maku: The Mesopotamian Particles of Existence.". The Journal of the American Oriental Society 123 (3): 641–646.
  22. Farrell, Stephen (2008-06-01). "Baghdad Jews Have Become a Fearful Few". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-12-10.
  23. Van Biema, David (2007-07-27). "The Last Jews of Baghdad". Time.,8599,1647740,00.html. Retrieved 2010-12-15.

External linksEdit