Religious Mapping Erbil (RME) is a joint project of teams from the Catholic University in Erbil (CUE), Salahaddin University-Erbil (SUE) and Tishk International University (TIU) under the guidance of the University of Potsdam (UP). From 2018 to 2022, the project was financed by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). [insert logos]

This project involves scholars of various disciplines including religious studies, Islamic studies, English language, applied computing, and computer engineering. The research is a cooperation of students, PhD candidates and advanced scholars.

The project attempts to display the religious diversity in Erbil, the fast-changing capital of Iraqi Kurdistan. Unlike a census or a survey, which focuses on individuals, RME presents the locations (mosques, churches, synagogues, temples and other venues) together with the history and social profiles of the congregations meeting there. [insert tiny map or part of it]

The data were obtained by visiting the locations, observing their services, interviewing community leaders (mostly imams and priests), evaluating information from the Ministry of Endowment and Religious Affairs, and by consulting websites. All investigations followed the same pattern, consisting of (I) spatiotemporal and (III) social dimensions, framed by (II) religious performance.

 I1 Foundation and History2 Location and Building
II3 Prayer and Ritual
III4 Community and Group Activities5 Public Relations

These categories allow the user to discover similarities among different congregations across religious borders.

RME illustrates the variety of religious communities in Erbil: Muslims, Christians, Mandaeans, Jews, Yezidis and Baha’i. The attentive user will also note the variety within religions. Some 12 Christian denominations – Syriac Orthodox, Chaldean Catholic, Assyrian, Armenian, Methodist, Roman Catholic, and several Evangelical groups – are represented in Erbil. At first glance, the topography of mosques seems uniform, but a closer look reveals the various characteristics of Muslim communities.

This online map will be followed by a book publication providing in-depth analyses of the congregations in their local distribution, member involvement, size, impact, and spiritual focus.


Prof. Dr. Johann Hafner (UP), Dr. Ulrike Kollodzeiski (UP)


Dr. Mohammed Abdulghani (TIU), Rawsan Hedo (CUE), Dr. Ulrike Kollodzeiski (UP)

Dr. Ardawan Ismael (SUE – until 2021)


Dr. Mohammed Abdulghani (TIU), Dr. Emine Bala (TIU), Ali Bala (TIU), Dr. Stefan Gatzhammer (UP), Dr. Michael Haußig (UP), Rawsan Hedo (CUE), Kadir Sanci (UP)


Jeremy Gray


Fanar Roofoo (CUE)