Afro-Iraqi Rituals: Stigma, Discrimination, and Resilience

Authors: ,


Afro-Iraqis represent 5% of the Iraqi population (approximately two million people), and Iraq has been their home since the ninth century, as part of forced immigration due to the slave trade. Throughout their history, Afro-Iraqis have been subjected to oppression, racism, and discrimination. Their rituals–assembled from a broad mix of African diasporic lineages–have been disparaged as barbaric and irreligious. In addition to providing a brief history of Afro-Iraqis and anti-Black racism in Arab culture, this paper describes and examines the significance of Afro-Iraqi rituals and Afro-Iraqis’ resilience in facing stigmatization and discrimination in Iraq.

Keywords: stigma, racism, resilience, Zanj, Afro-Iraqis, rituals, slavery, anti-Black racism, orature, Zaar/Zar

How to Cite: Al-Azraki, A. & Yaqoob, T. Y. (2023) “Afro-Iraqi Rituals: Stigma, Discrimination, and Resilience”, the Black Theatre Review. 1(2). doi: