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People and Society, Religion

Yazidis, Nestorians, Amarah, Christian sects, holy cities

Muslims make up 96 percent of Iraq’s population. About 60 to 65 percent of the Muslims adhere to the Shia branch, and the rest adhere to the Sunni branch. The Shias live mostly in central and southern Iraq, and the Sunnis live principally in the north. Most of the Kurds are Sunnis. Several of the holy cities of the Shias, notably An Najaf and Karbala’, are situated in Iraq. Among the few Christian sects in Iraq are the Nestorians, the Jacobite Christians, and offshoots of these two sects, respectively known as Chaldean and Syrian Catholics. In addition, smaller religious groups include the Yazidis, who live in the hill country north of Mosul, and a Gnostic group known as the Mandaean Baptists living in Baghdad and Al ‘Amarah. The Yazidis are a syncretic sect, which combines the beliefs of different religions. A small community of Jews lives in Baghdad.

Article key phrases:

Yazidis, Nestorians, Amarah, Christian sects, holy cities, Karbala, Najaf, Shias, Sunnis, Chaldean, Mosul, southern Iraq, Baghdad, offshoots, hill country, Kurds, Muslims, rest, addition


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