The representative of the Christian quota in Nineveh Provincial Council, Sa’ad Taneus, warned of attempts by the Shabek community to change the demography of the majority Christian sub-District of Bartellah through a project to build 1000 new residential units.
“ Since 2003, the Christian areas suffer from demographic change from numerous parties. We tried to stop them through the intervention of characters like Ammar al-Al-Hakeem, but in vain”, said Taneus in a statement to Sumeria News.
“ The Council of Bartellah sub-District has taken a vote on a project to build 1000 residential units through investment”, he added explaining that the “ construction of such a large number of residential complexes will bring about a substantial demographic change in the area of Bartelleh as the population of the complexes will approximate that of the sub-District centre.
The representative of the Shabek Quota in the provincial council Qusay Abbas, accused on Monday, the Christians in the Governorate of raising the issue of the areas of the Plain of Nineveh being subject to demographic change with an aim to establish a governorate for themselves in the area, which he said was in violation of the provisions of the constitution of Iraq.
Taneus noted that the Christians “ were not against the construction of residential complexes as long as they preserved the Christian character of those areas such as Qaraqush, Bartella and Eluqush explaining that “ the arbitrary construction and distribution process will lead to a change in the character of the area that is considered the last place of refuge for the Christians who fled their areas in Basrah and Baghdad”.
Taneus accused the Shabeks of working to obtain plots of land in Christian areas such as Qaraqush and Bartellah where they opt to establish residential complexes instead of their own villages, calling for the establishment of municipal offices in the villages where Shabeks live to enable them obtain plots of land and hence disengage the two parties in their quarrel in Bartillah”.
The municipal council of the sub-Distirict of Bartellah is made up of 10 members four of which are Christians with an equivalent number for the Shabeks and two Kurds.
The council has adopted in June a decision that allows the construction of a new residential complex which was approved by six members and objected by the Christian members.
While the Shabek defend the legitimacy of the project, Christians stress that the objective is to bring about a demographic change in the area and minimize the percentage of the Christians.
Christian groups and politicians had demanded recently the establishment of a governorate for the Christians in the Plain of Nineveh to protect the area from Demographic change.