The elusive Shabak community is scattered throughout the Nineveh Plains, a region to the north and east of Mosul that has been largely terrorized by ISIS. They have been oppressed and persecuted by past regimes and Islamic extremists as a result of widespread misinformation regarding who they are. While some consider themselves ethnically distinct, others claim to be Muslim Kurds with a Shiite majority and a Sunni minority. However, unfounded reports have in past identified Shabaks as an extreme Shiite sect and apostates because of their alleged unorthodox practices. They have also been subject to the push and pull between Baghdad and the Kurds, as both factions have sought to assimilate the tiny community for political gains.
This series of photographs portrays the people living in the Shabak Camp of Chermo, not far from Chamchamal, in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, along with the few objects that they managed to take with them while escaping the ethnic cleansing of the Nineveh Plains perpetrated by ISIS militants right after the fall of Mosul (August 2014). Around 200 people live in the camp, all of them residing in prefabricated cabin houses.
The story was produced together with Stefano Carini and is part of the collective project Map of Displacement