Iraq’s Shabak community demands incorporation into Kurdistan

NINEWA / Hundreds of Iraq’s Shabak people on Sunday took to the streets in Ninewa calling to include them in Iraq’s Kurdistan region, according to a local official. “Today, hundreds of Shabak people staged a peaceful demonstration, calling to incorporate them into the Kurdistan region on the basis that they are Kurds, not Arabs,” the head of Ninewa’s Basheeqa district, Thanoun Younis, told The Shabak people are an ethnic group that lives primarily in the province of Ninewa in Iraq. Their language, Shabaki, is a Zaza-Gorani dialect, similar to Kurdish, with many borrowings from Turkish, Persian, and Arabic. According to another source, they speak a dialect of Kurdish with borrowings from Arabic and Turkish. They are scattered throughout 35 villages located in the east of Mosul. While Kurds considered the Shabak ethnically Kurds, they identified themselves as Shiites and a separate ethnic group. Mosul, the capital city of Ninewa, lies 405 km north of Baghdad. The original city of Mosul stands on the west bank of the Tigris River, opposite the ancient biblical city of Nineveh on the east bank, but the metropolitan area has now grown to encompass substantial areas on both banks, with five bridges linking the two sides. Despite having an amount of Kurdish population, it does not form part of the area controlled by the Kurdistan Regional Government Kurdistan RegionG). There are different communities in Mosul like Christians, Shiites and Kurds along with a Sunni majority. The city is also a historic center for the Nestorian Christianity of the Assyrians, containing the tombs of several Old Testament prophets such as Jonah, Yunus in Arabic, and Nahum. SS (S) 1

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