2011 Dohuk riots

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2011 Dohuk riots
Zakho riots 2011.jpg
shops in Zakho after the riots
Date December 2–5, 2011
Location  Iraq-Zakho, Iraqi Kurdistan region
Causes Fiery Islamic sermons[1]
Goals Ban Massage parlors and Alcohol[citation needed]
Methods Arson, Coercion

The 2011 Dohuk riots refers to riots (sabotage) by a group of some radical Islamists Kurds on December 2, 2011 which were instigated by Friday prayers' sermons of some radical clerics calling for attacks against stores selling alcohol and massage parlours in Zakho in the Dohuk Governorate, Iraq. The riots soon developed into the looting and burning down of Assyrian, non-Muslim Kurdish and Yazidi-owned properties in other towns in the governorate, causing 4 million dollars in damage.[2]

Riots ended after Kurdish security forces intervened and intensified massive crackdown on demonstrators. As a result of riots, a group of secular Kurds attacked a number of headquarters of the Kurdistan Islamic Union party.[3]


Assyrian personalities in the region had been wary of the changes of the Arab Spring, particularity the rise of radical Islam.[4] The riots started in Zakho, the northern most town of Iraq, located close to the Turkish border. The town has a Kurdish majority with a sizeable Assyrian and Yezidi minority.

Friday events[edit]

The small riots were instigated by Friday sermons in the northern city of Zakho after Muslim clerics called for the destruction of stores that sold alcohol in the city on December 2, 2011.[4] Angry youth mobs attacked Assyrian and Yezidi-owned businesses such as stores, hotels, casinos, massage parlours in the northern town of Zakho.[1][5] The violence spilled into nearby towns of Dohuk and Semel. Many Assyrian social clubs and homes were also attacked throughout the province. Angry Kurdish pro-government supporters that belonged to the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and Kurdistan Democratic Party suspected Muslim Brotherhood-inspired Kurdistan Islamic Union (KIU) clerics to be behind the violence and attacked offices of the Islamic party in Dohuk and Erbil overnight. However, in an official statement, the KIU denied any connections to the riots.[6]

Riots ended three days later.


Riots began in Zakho but quickly expanded to Semel, Dohuk and surrounding Assyrian villages.

December 2 Targets:
  • 30 stores that sold alcohol, 4 hotels, 1 massage parlor, a number of hair salons, cafeterias and a Catholic diocese in Zakho.
  • The Assyrian Nohadra Social Club in Dohuk was attacked by a mob of 200 people, causing damage worth 50,000 dollars[7]
  • The Yezidi Health Club in Dohuk[8][9]
  • The Wan Restaurant in Semel[10]
  • A bar[11] and a tourist hotel[12] in Zawita that led to the arrest of 32 people.
December 3 Targets:
  • A group of 100 local Islamists attacked the Assyrian Saint Daniel Church and many Christian homes in Mansouriyah early in the morning. Locals claim young students were instigated by teachers.[13]
  • Homes in the village of Sheoz[4]
December 4 Targets
  • Three shops that sold alcohol were set on fire by a mob of 20 in the Assyrian village of Deralok[14]
  • A store that sold alcohol was shot with an automatic weapon in Dohuk[15]
December 5 Targets
  • Shops that sold alcohol were burned down by mobs in Koy Sanjaq[16]
  • Massage parlor burned in Sulaymaniyah[16]
  • Previously burned shops in Zakho were pasted with flyers threatening to burn down any shop that decides to reopen[17]


On December 3, the Kurdish intelligence agency Asaish arrested 20 KIU members of parliament and high officials within the party.[18] The President of Iraqi Kurdistan Masoud Barzani ordered the formation of a committee to investigate the event.[19] In an official press release, he stated: "I condemn both these unlawful acts. I call on the people of the Kurdistan Region to preserve our traditions of ethnic and religious co-existence. I have ordered the formation of a committee to look into these disturbances and bring to justice those responsible."[20]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Sermons spark riots in Iraqi Kurdish city". USA Today. 3 December 2011. Retrieved 4 December 2011. 
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ http://www.atour.com/news/assyria/20111205a.html#ChristiansAttackedInIraqByKurdishExtremists. Retrieved 7 November 2016.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ a b c "Zakho, Iraqi Islamic extremists attack Christian-owned shops and properties". AsiaNews.it. 3 December 2011. Retrieved 4 December 2011. 
  5. ^ كردستانية - بارزاني: الحفاظ على التعايش السلمي ليس واجب حكومة الاقليم فحسب بل واجب كل اهالي كردستان. peyamner (in Arabic). 3 December 2011. Retrieved 4 December 2011. 
  6. ^ "KIU Politburo Statement on Bahdinan Riots". Kurdish Islamic Union. Retrieved 4 December 2011. 
  7. ^ بالصور .. اعمال التخريب التي طالت نادي نوهدرا الاجتماعي في دهوك, قناة عشتار الفضائية
  8. ^ صور حصرية بالموقع توضح اثار التخريب ب "نادي الصحة" في حي خوات الكحبة اهل الواشرات الشرطة اللي جابيهم من الثورة وحاطيهم دهوك
  9. ^ [2]
  10. ^ صور حصرية بالموقع توضح اثار الاعتداءات الارهابية على سميل
  11. ^ عاجل...حرق كازينو في زاويته والفوضويين في طريقهم لحرق المزيد من محال بيع المشروبات
  12. ^ دخول
  13. ^ عاجل: صباح اليوم هجوم على كنيسة ومنازل المسيحيين في مجمع المنصورية بالحجارة
  14. ^ [3]
  15. ^ [4]
  16. ^ a b [5]
  17. ^ [6]
  18. ^ قوات الاسايش تعتقل قيادات في الاتحاد الاسلامي ومنهم النائب نجيب عبدالله
  19. ^ "Rioters Attack Liquor Stores, Offices of Local Islamic Party". 3 December 2011. Retrieved 4 December 2011. 
  20. ^ "National - President Barzani Condemns Violence in Dohuk, Calls for Calm". peyamner. 3 December 2011. Retrieved 4 December 2011.