Shabak people

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Total population 60,000 - 400,000
Regions with significant populations Iraq
Language Shabaki
Religion Islam <tr>
<th style="background-color:#fee8ab;">Related ethnic groups</th>
<td style="background-color:#fff6d9;">Turkomen, Kurds Iranian people</td>


The Shabak people are a minority group of Iraq who live in the province of Ninawa. They number anywhere from 60,000 and 400,000 and are scattered across 72 villages.

The ethnic background of the Shabaks is unclear. It is believed that they are Aryans who migrated to Mesopotamia from Persia and settled the Nineveh plain during the Safavid Empire.

Their language, Shabaki, is a Zaza dialect and is a mixture of Persian, Arabic, Turkish and Kurdish. About 70% of them are Shia Muslims and the rest are Sunni Muslims however they follow their own unique form of Islam which includes a mélange of different religions. The Shabaks have a sacred book called the Buyruk written in Turkoman. They also make pilgrimages to Yazidi shrines.

The Shabaks were recorded separately in censuses during the British mandate and were recognized as a distinct ethnic group in 1952 but suffered badly under Baathist rule. During Saddam Hussein's Arabization campaign, they were defined as either Arabs or Kurds and as a result census figures do not exist for Shabaks. In the 1980s, 3000 Shabak families were dislocated in the north of Iraq and about 22 of their villages were destroyed after being accused of disloyalty to the regime.<ref>Ethnic Groups in Nineveh", American Aid for Children of Nineveh, Iraq.</ref>

Since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Kurdish millitias have attempted to Kurdify the Shabaks by calling them "Kurdish Shabaks" as well as opening up KDP offices and raising the flag of Kurdistan in Shabak villages. It is alleged that Iraqi Kurdistan wants to annex Shabak villages and the eastern side of Mosul into its territory.<ref>"Kurds Block Assyrians, Shabaks From Police Force in North Iraq", Assyrian International News Agency, June 24, 2006.</ref> The Shabaks do not consider themselves Kurds and vehemently oppose Kurdification attempts.<ref>"Iraq's Shabaks Are Being Oppressed By Kurds", Assyrian International News Agency, August 28, 2005. Retrieved on 2006-10-09.</ref> There have also been allegations of voter fraud and intimidation of Shabaks and other minority groups by Kurdish authorities in Nineveh.<ref>"Skulduggery at the Iraqi polls? ( I am "shocked, shocked!")", 'Just World News' by Helena Cobban, November 4, 2005.</ref>

On August 15 2005 in Bartella, two Assyrians were killed and four Shabaks were wounded by the Kurdistan Democratic Party in a demonstration organized by the Democratic Shabak Coalition which wants separate representation for the Shabak community.<ref>"Conflicts between Kurds and the Shabak", Dr. Hunain Al-Qaddo, August 26, 2005, Christians of Iraq.</ref>

The Shabaks have representatives in the Bakhdida, Bartella, Basheqa, Tel Keppe and Nimrod municipalities of the Ninawa Governorate.

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Shabak people

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