The Struggle of Ethno-Religious Minorities in Iraq: The case of Kaka'is


  • Nazdar Qudrat Abas University of Garmian, Iraq
  • Dilshad Jaff University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA
  • Hashem M. Karami Garmian University, Iraq



Kaka'is, religious minorities, Iraq, human rights.


Kakaism, a minority religion primarily found in Kurdish regions of western Iran, and eastern and northern Iraq, is a case of ethno-religious struggle. Kaka’is practice is an ancient faith, deeply rooted in the Metric religion, which can be traced back to 5,000 years B.C.E. Followers of the faith have been exposed to violence, armed conflicts, and atrocities, and deprivation from the four pillars of the minority rights:  the right to exist, the right to non-discrimination, the right to protection of identity, and the right to civic participation. Although the focus of this paper is on the struggle of Kaka’is in Iraq, the comments and conclusions might be relevant for similar contexts in which ethno-religious minorities are oppressed.


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Author Biographies

Nazdar Qudrat Abas, University of Garmian, Iraq

NAZDAR QUDRAT ABAS, MSc. Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, is director of Gender Equality Center a Lecturer at Psychology Department, University of Garmian, Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Her area of focus includes mental health of forcibly displaced persons, minorities and women. Email:  

Dilshad Jaff, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA

DILSHAD JAFF, MD, MPH, is a program coordinator for solutions to complex emergencies with the Gillings School’s Research, Innovation, and Global Solutions unit, as well as an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Maternal and Child Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is an expert in complex humanitarian crises and conflict resolution. Email:

Hashem M. Karami, Garmian University, Iraq

HASHEM M. KARAMI, has been a lecturer at the University of Garmian (Kurdistan Region-Iraq), since 2012. His research interest focuses on Kurdish issues in the Middle East. Hashem has translated five books from English to Persian and/or Kurdish and has written several political columns in Persian and Kurdish. He has been a member of the editorial board of the online Politeia Journal from 2018 which focuses on the Kurdish issue. Email: